Okay, so right away I have issues with something, not that I think Wessling is inaccurate, but that “standards can lead to investments and curricular changes that will improve schools”, which is one of the proponents that she mentions regarding the expectations of professionals and I say this sounds illogical (5). My reasoning for this claim directly relates to assessment of the MEAP: even if a district determines where and how investments and changes will benefit, how are they supposed to do this when the district loses resources for low scores? If a district is aware that their community is performing at a lower level than they ought, punitively removing what is left of their funding isn’t going to help, it will do the exact opposite, so please explain to me like I’m a five year old, where is there hope of improvement in this situation?

She also talks about what the term “rigor” means (10), with relation to instructors and the organization of their classrooms and curriculum. I tend to agree with this, because I believe that in order for students to learn to write, they must be voracious readers. What they read makes no difference, but they must read. So, with that said, and taking into account what is “relevant to their lives” how does an instructor make these choices for their classroom as a whole? It seems to me that if my classroom is relegated by cultural and social implications, how does an instructor choose a text that is able to represent the class as a whole??? Can instructors do this for each student? In other words, wouldn’t it be easier to allow the students to choose a text out of a list of texts, that relates to the theme at hand? I would think would definitely allow the student to discover what relates to themselves, as well. This is the point when students begin to develop an academic identity, and it’s difficult for them to do this, when we choose what relates to them, for them.

I really appreciate the discussion on formative assessment. I think we need to lean more towards this type of assessment, because it helps us determine what is happening within development for the student, while they are developing. In other words, as students learn to write, it is most helpful to assist them with their texts in ways that force them to be responsible for the words on the page, so they make adjustments to the way they learn. Assessment that includes positive reinforcement and guiding commentary is the most productive way to go. As an educator I’m well aware that students need to be aware of structural and mechanical issues regarding their writing, however, when we nurture students to be reflective, they will eventually learn to do this, automatically. When they are revising and drafting, they will come across textual inconsistencies that they will identify and either address it right away, or set time aside for a single grammar revision. This means, the old red pen can finally be retired, because we are instructing in a way that forces students to be their own, self-reflective writer.

On page 16, Wessling says, “To clarify, this expectation does not diminish the need to scaffold instruction at all grade levels; rather, the goal is to move students toward independent enactment of standards” and I think this is an example of what I explained above. If we as instructors can implement the necessary steps, an example of this being encouraging students to take responsibility for their work, we are savvy by showing our students how to identify their learning attributes for themselves, as opposed to “teaching” them. This way, they take the habits we help them identify with them, and success is more likely achieved. It’s the difference between being active educators and passive educators.


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