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three-part process: students complete a draft, write a revision plan, and the instructor gives feedback according to the plan

Using Revision Plans to Engage Students with Instructor Feedback

Mon Apr 5, 2021 at 07:30 AM
Many students enter college with low self-perceptions about their writing skills. One way to make instructor feedback useful and meaningful to students is to create opportunities for conversation between student and instructor in advance of the revision stage. By combining instructor feedback with student-composed revision plans, instructors and students can participate in dialogic feedback that encourages both critical thinking and critical revision (Berzsenyi, 2001; Muldoon, 2009). Dialogic feedback diminishes students’ misinterpretations of instructors’ comments and gives students a better understanding of their writing and which skills to work on as they progress to the final written product.

How It Works

  1. Once students have completed their drafts, have them fill out a revision plan targeting their top five issues/problems/concerns about the draft, their plan to solve the problems, and the rhetorical benefit of doing so
  2. Instructors can use the revision plans to give students specific and focused feedback on their drafts, whether delivered orally or in writing
  3. Students should be encouraged to further discuss instructors’ comments, whether orally or in writing

This activity can simply instructor feedback by allowing the instructor to focus on students’ concerns. It also encourages students’ revision practices because they have developed a specific plan for revising that includes both global (i.e., organization, clarity of claim) and local (i.e., documentation, mechanics) revision targets.

This activity can be done in a variety of different courses that require written work from the students. This activity has accompanied drafts throughout the semester in several WRT 150 and WRT 160 courses. The number of students in these courses is capped at 22; however, the activity could be used with larger classes as well. It may be more beneficial in larger classes to offer the activity to students who are struggling with the written requirements in the course. For those teaching in other disciplines, the column regarding the rhetorical benefits of planned changes to the draft can be eliminated.

Related Research

Berzsenyi, C. (2001). Comments to comments. Teachers and students in dialogue about critical revision. Composition Studies, 29(2), 71-92.

Brannon, L., & Knoblauch, C. H. (1982). On students' rights to their own texts: A model of teacher response. College Composition and Communication, 33(2), 157-166.

Martin, R. (2011). Rhetoric of teacher comments on student writing. Young Scholars in Writing, 8, 16-29. 

Muldoon, A. (2009). A case for critical revision: Debunking the myth of the enlightened teacher versus the resistant student writer. College Teaching, 57(2), 67-72. 

Parr, J. M., & Timperley, H. S. (2010). Feedback to writing, assessment for teaching and learning and student progress. Assessing Writing, 15(2), 68-85. doi: 10.1016 /j.asw.2010.05.004

Richardson, S. (2000). Students' conditioned response to teachers' response: Portfolio proponents, take note. Assessing Writing, 7(2), 117-141. doi:10.1016/S1075-2935(00)00021-0 

Schiaffino, O. (2007). Students' interpretation and application of feedback in a first-year English composition course (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest. (3270954)

Sommers, N. (1980). Revision strategies of student writers and experienced adult writers. College Composition and Communication, 31(4), 378-388. doi: 10.2307/356588

Sommers, N. (1982). Responding to student writing. College Composition and Communication, 148-156. doi: 10.2307/357622

Stern, L. A., & Solomon, A. (2006). Effective faculty feedback: The road less traveled. Assessing Writing, 11(1), 22-41. doi:10.1016/j.asw.2005.12.001

Straub, R. (1997). Students' reactions to teacher comments: An exploratory study. Research in the Teaching of English, 91-119. 

University of Michigan Sweetland Center for Writing. (n.d.). Effective assignment sequencing for scaffolding learning supplement three: How to write a revision plan

Wolsey, T. D. (2008). Efficacy of instructor feedback on written work in an online program. International Journal on E-Learning, 7(2), 311-329. 

Zellermayer, M. (1989). The study of teachers' written feedback to students' writing: Changes in theoretical considerations and the expansion of research contexts. Instructional Science, 18(2), 145-165. doi:10.1007/BF00117715 

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About the Author

Laura Gabrion was a special lecturer in Writing and Rhetoric at Oakland University, where she also earned her PhD in Reading Education. She is now an English Language Arts Consultant at Wayne RESA.

This teaching tip was originally published November 6, 2017. Edited and designed by Christina Moore, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Oakland University. Others may share and adapt under Creative Commons License CC BY-NCView all CETL Weekly Teaching Tips. Follow these and more on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.