14 November 2013

Quick Tip: Google Forms for Error Feedback on Writing

You keep getting the same problems over and over again. You wish you had a stamp made so you wouldn't have to keep writing the same thing over and over. Maybe you've developed a highlighter color code for types of errors. Maybe you have a document of all the comments you make again and again to copy them onto online assignments.

Yet the same errors keep occurring.

I've made a Google Form of errors I keep seeing over and over again to deal with this problem. The idea started with Creative Writing, where I had a lot longer writings to contend with than I do in Spanish class. All of my highlighting on their drafts was just overwhelming them and getting nothing fixed. I had been copying sentences from their stories into Google Docs organized by errors to do creative revision lessons on later: this did not engage them or help those who struggled most. So I made a form with the most common errors from my current creative writing class on it, and now when I evaluate them, I copy and paste the offending sentences into their proper categories while I read their online submissions.

I alphabetize the results by students' names, share the response spreadsheet with the class, and let students access the form to see where their problems lie. I've toyed with the idea of copying individual students' results into their own personal spreadsheets shared only with them, but for now they don't really care who sees their run-ons.

The beauty of this method of data collection for the students is they can tell exactly which sentences need what done to them--without having me do it for them.

The beauty for me is that I can see error patterns at a glance. I can see an individual students' weak points immediately or quickly pick up on what the class is struggling with as a whole. Plus, if I still have the relevant examples of the problem at my fingertips, you know, if I do get a creative revision lesson idea.

As for the handwritten assignments, I've got my highlighter rainbow and some specific ideas for a set of stamps I could get made when I hit the lottery.


  1. As I move to allowing more on-line submissions I see how this could make things a lot simpler - both in responding and seeing common errors! Thanks Laura!

  2. Love this idea....do you share the entire doc with all students? Would there be an issue with students being able to see all errors of a peer?

    1. Thanks! At present, they are on a single spreadsheet (tiny, close-knit class without time to mess with errors that aren't their own). Because the errors are not directly tied to a grade and students are not concerned with each other's errors, it hasn't been an issue.