Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sample Diagnostic Prompt

I begin my writing classes with a diagnostic essay, which allows me to get a handle on what skills the students come into my classes possessing.  Typically, I align the prompt with the theme I will teach on during that term.  Since I am teaching on music this term, my diagnostic prompt is also about music:

In one or more paragraphs, name your favorite song, describe it, and discuss why it is your favorite.  You may be asked to relate your response to the class.

I may end up discussing responses to the prompt later on.  I do not yet know.

Align /ə*līn'/ (vb.)- to set into line, line up, put in a row
Diagnostic /dī*əg*näs'tĭk/ (adj.)- designed to find out what is going on at the moment, usually with the idea of identifying areas needing improvement
Prompt /prämpt/ (n.)- an exercise or assignment, not a question, that requires a response, usually open-ended

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