Assessing Blog Posts

David Warlick at 2 Cents Worth (via Will Richardson who comments on David's post) provides a starting point for assessing blog posts with two sets of five questions in assessing blogs, one for the blogger and one for the reader. The blogger questions are:

- What did you read in order to write this blog entry?

- What do you think is important about your blog entry?

- What are both sides of your issue?

- What do you want your readers to know, believe, or do?

- What else do you need to say?

With just a little rephrasing, the reader questions become:

- What did the blogger read before writing?

- What was important about the blog entry?

- What were both sides of the issue?

- What do you know, believe, or want to do after reading the blog?

- What else needs to be said?

I like these questions because they provide feedback to students that help them consider, as David says, "broader aspects of the issues being written about." And I especially like the one about reading. Too often, students expect to write only from their own experience without reading, without understanding others' perspectives, without weaving those perspectives into their writing. However, I would change that question to:

- What are the different sides in this issue?

This rephrasing moves students from an "either-or," "us-them" mentality to a more nuanced picture fitting the complex reality of life.