|our own and our students' writing, and realizing that liking need not get in the way of clear-eyed evaluation.|
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1. How does Elbow define ranking? (It's broader than the usual meaning of the term.) Do you agree with his negative view of this form of assessment? Comment on Elbow's idea that our society has a “hunger to rank.”
2. In your own experience, how did it feel to have your writing ranked? (If you aspire to teach English, it is possible that your work was always ranked high. How might it have felt to a less capable writer?) What form of assessment seemed to help you most? Why?
3. Comment on Elbow's willingness to compromise with minimal forms of ranking or an analytic grid. What kind of compromises could you see yourself making? At this stage in your career, what kind of grading system do you think you would use for student writing?
4. Elbow is famous for stating things that many teachers believe but don't want to admit. Take his idea of “liking.” Discuss his premise: “It's not improvement that leads to liking, but rather liking that leads to improvement.” How convincing is his case for using this idea in the classroom?