Writing Quantity versus Quality: The Hare and the Tortoise (Aesop Fables)

“I argue that quality and quantity are not contradictory paths you need to pick. Quantity is a pre-requisite for quality” (Bruce Flow @ https://writingcooperative.com/write-for-quantity-not-quality-29c41ea554cd). “If you want to become a better writer, it’s far more effective to do a lot of bad writing than a little perfect writing, especially since if you’re aiming for perfection, you’ll be writing forever. Today, don’t try to be perfect. Just try to write something better than what you wrote yesterday” (Joe Bunting @ https://thewritepractice.com/quantity-v-quality/). At WriteRightNow, the quantity versus quality argument is more refined with an emphasis on many different quantities being used to reflect variations on quality. The tortoise won by moving slowly but steadily, which is what we want for students so they can see their progress by moving steadily forward in their writing. Quality (using rating scales) just can’t show this kind of progress. In this software platform, we offer students and teachers the following quantities: Vocabulary words in Concept buckets is the most important because they represent the content that teachers are focusing on within their instructional delivery. Counts are provided in a table but more importantly are highlighted in the students’ writing to reflect distribution and density. Google Entities are equally important with the number of references to persons, events, locations, and organizations. Convention errors: Spelling, grammar, and language suggestions. Productivity: Number of characters, words, sentences, average word length, unique words, and average sentence length. But we also value teacher judgments of quality and offer a number of different rating scales: a traditional six-trait scale, holistic, Oregon Essential Skills, WRN CCSS argumentative, informative, narrative, and letter grades. The moral of this blog: To show steady progress that is sensitive to ALL students, focus on quantity and shape their quality in the process. And have students write a lot. Images from https://www.freeimages.com

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