One of my favorite tools for assessing writing is a rubric. The above writing check list hangs in our classroom, and students have a smaller copy in their Writer's Notebooks. I use this as the framework for our writing rubrics, making adjustments depending on the project. This checklist covers all the points that I feel are most important.
This week I am holding writing conferences and students are using a rubric to self assess their writing on our December Writing project. Our writing project is a collection of the pieces we wrote during the month. While rubrics work well for me, I like them even better when students are using them to think about their own work. Students are usually much tougher on themselves than I am. More important, it nudges them to really study their writing.
It may seem wordy and sometimes I do simplify them to just cover the main chategories, Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation, Spelling, Sentence Structure. Other times kids need to have things spelled out explicitly.
I am always on the lookout for a better tool. How do you assess student writing? What is your favorite assessment tool?