Student self assessment using rubrics and checklists is a powerful tool for all students.  It is especially helpful to English Language Learners (ELLs).

ELLs do not necessarily come to the classroom with the same knowledge of texts types that their English proficient peers do.   English proficient students are more likely to understand through experience that certain registers, vocabulary and styles are used in different genres.  Put (over)simply, they know that a story begins with “Once upon a time…’, that a letter to the local council is not signed off ‘Love from…’  and that a recipe needs imperative verbs.  ELLs need to be specifically taught these ‘rules’ for a particular genre or type of writing in order to succeed in re-creating and innovating on them.*

Using student checklists and rubrics is a great way of explicitly showing ELLs what is needed in order to succeed at the task, and to guide their process of proof reading and editing.

One of our EAL Specialists, Naen, put together the rubric below to help the Year 7 classes who have been studying discursive writing this term.  It has helped to make all the students aware of where they are succeeding and how they can improve their work.  The ELLs have found it particulary helpful.

Click for PDF version

Have a look and let us know in the comments section how it went down with your class.

*You can read more about the challenges and solutions to writing across the curriculum in Scaffolding Language; Scaffolding Learning by Pauline Gibbons.  We have a copy on order for the EAL library at Shrewsbury International School, which teachers here are welcome to borrow once it has arrived.