by Yeasir Ahmed Milan
Checking students’ writing scripts is one of the major aspects of evaluation of teaching as well as learning. Be they the scripts of any competitive tests like IELTS/TOEFL, BCS or admission test scripts like BBA/MBA or even academic exam scripts, checking them properly for learners’ error correction is an assigned responsibility and professional accountability of the teachers. It is usually seen that a student makes the same mistakes again and again and if corrected properly, the probability of recurrence is less. The students of Mentors’ expect more from us than from their academic institutions. They have a very firm belief about us that after doing a course, everything will go smoothly. They will get chance in their desired institutions. They will maintain better IELTS scores. They really forget about their level of competence. We have to prepare them within stipulated time duration. Our accountability is more noticeable. Our success is determined by the success of our students. So, it is ever challenging.
Why do we check students’ scripts?
We want to see how much our students learnt and retained. In Bangladesh the main objective of checking scripts is never achieved. The teachers just circle the wrong production and the students just see the marks or scores. They never think of learning from the checked scripts. This happens because we have taught the students that way. And again when a student gets a checked script, s/he believes that the script is error-free because it has been checked by his/her teacher. Is it the reality? No. We teachers are usually careless about this because CHECKING STUDENTS’ WRITING SCRIIPTS IS THE MOST BORING PART OF TEACHING. For this, we have a tendency to give an unnecessary TICK mark hastily just to unburden the tedious liability. By doing this, we help stablish a student’s mistakes permanently. We close all the doors of learner’s self-correction because s/he believes the script is error-free as it checked by his/her trustworthy teacher.
Are Only the Teachers Responsible?
Yes and No. Yes—because the teachers have taken the entire burden on their shoulders. No—because the teachers do not know how should unburden the load of checking and they are not properly trained for that.
What is the objective of checking students’ scripts?
To give the students an opportunity for self-correction. We teachers really do not know what to do with thousands of scripts. Limited time to check the scripts is a major downside and the teachers are held responsible without considering this matter.
What to do to get the best out of Checking Scripts?
Give the students a chance for self-correction. Do not just skim through the scripts and overlook the mistakes. Consider the mark distribution for organization, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, relevance, coherence etc. Tell the students to come twice with the scripts—once after first check and then after learner’s self-correction. While you check for the first time, do not correct in the complete form rather give some clues to the mistakes. You can underline the mistakes and write down an abbreviated form of the type of mistakes. For example, if a student makes a mistake in using correct form of a word, write ‘WF’—Wrong Form and tell the student to correct the mistake by himself/herself and then come again. Motivate the learner to use dictionary, grammar book, or even take help from the elders to correct the mistakes. And again the student can take help from his/her class teacher—(Sir, I wrote ‘He is one of the good boy in our class’—please tell me about my mistakes). If s/he can really correct the mistakes—better. If not, correct the mistakes before the student and make him/her understand why they were mistakes. Some 5/6 students may join you in this correction process.
Our students usually make similar types of mistakes. The teacher who checks the scripts can accumulate the wrong sentences (or any kind of mistakes in writing) and in the form of a booklet, he can supply it to the students. Some example sentences can be of great help. The same thing can also be done in speaking test.
The Teacher Checked this Script and Gave Band Score 4.
It is nothing but the avoidance of responsibility of checking scripts by giving only one or two TICK MARKS. Will this present way of checking scripts help students anyway? No. If the above system is followed, less time will be needed. The students will get the opportunity for self-correction. Other students will also get the chance to know from this students who made mistakes if the teacher initiates something for error-correction in the class.
Quality speaks. To make Mentors’ an unparalleled institute, we must ensure quality teaching and quality checking. Some good initiatives can bring a very good result. It’s TIME for change.