How do I annotate student work?

Step 1. Determine Key Instructional Objectives

Before you begin, consult the relevant instructional benchmarks for explanatory and argument writing tasks (we’ve provided a set for each grade band). The benchmarks lay out the elements of the writing standards; you will need to add the specific historical understandings and historical thinking concepts (e.g., Cause and Effect) that you want students to demonstrate in their performance of this task.

Step 2. Select 2 Pieces of Student Work

After students have completed the WBA unit writing task, review their work and select two examples that represent the performance level of most students in the class.

Use a black marker or otherwise delete students' names or other data that could be used to identify them.

Step 3. Identify Specific Evidence of Student Proficiency and Struggle

Using the instructional benchmarks as a guide, create at least four annotations for specific sentences or passages in the student’s writing that explain why the sentence or passage indicates proficiency or not. (See sample.) Your annotations may also indicate degrees of proficiency—for example, why a student is close to identifying a counterclaim but not quite there. If you have the student work as a Word file, use the Comment function to insert comments where you can write your annotations. If you have a printout or handwritten student work, use numbers to indicate where in the work you are placing an annotation then write the corresponding annotation in the margin or on a separate page.

In the sample provided, notice that each comment relates to a specific standard. The teacher has noted how the sentence(s) reflects student understanding or misunderstanding.

Step 4. Upload Annotated Student Work to Unit Reflection

Double check to be sure you have deleted or blacked out students’ names or other data that could be used to identify them, then upload your two pieces of student work via the Unit Reflection form.

Why Do We Ask You to Annotate Student Work?

  • It develops your knowledge of student proficiency for Common Core standards and historical understandings.
  • It helps you identify where the student needs additional work in practicing a skill and/or clarification of the content.
  • It provides WBA History Educators with an indicator of your own understanding of how to identify student progress with content knowledge and Common Core-aligned skills.
  • It allows you to make an accurate assessment of a unit’s effectiveness and revise instruction as necessary.