Grading Written Work in the Nursing Curriculum

I recently attended a professional conference where this topic was one of the break-out sessions that I attended. The following is a synopsis of the presentation.

Proficiency in writing is an expectation for graduates of the Associate Degree Nursing Program. To assist the students with improving their professional writing, they have the option of working with the Writing Lab on campus. I have arranged an APA session for students given by the Gen Ed instructor or the Librarian on this Campus to improve their assignment quality and thoroughness for my 2nd semester students. I especially recommend the writing lab to the students when they are working on a paper in APA format. Others things that you can do, as a faculty member, are to communicate the purpose of the assignment to the students, utilize a grading rubric for all assignments especially the major ones, and always give the students feedback. Students learn from timely feedback. Professional writing is so important as the expectation is that a nurse needs to write professionally for her/his career.  Some examples of the need for professional writing are; developing a proposal, revising or creating a new policy,communicating with superiors, or working on a budget. Another activity that may benefit a student is peer mentoring. Prior to turning in a project the student has another student review the project and grade according to the rubric, whether it is a scholarly paper or the weekly clinical care plan. The student should also be using the rubric to self-assess their project prior to submitting to the instructor.

Submission of assignments could be electronic . Can you create a mechanism to de-identify papers and grade in random order?

Writing supports reflection which strengthens connections between thinking and learningand promotes creativity, which is the highest order in the new Bloom’s taxonomy. Evidence-based practice is an important aspect in all assignments the nursing student may have to do. This presenter suggested that you/your Division create an APA checklist format to grade papers, including the APA page number on the checklist. The student will then submit their paper checking that they have completed all the elements of the project and the instructor compares the self-assessment with their assessment. This checklist should be consistent with all faculty. I’m not sure if we currently have something like this College-wide but it might be a good suggestions.


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