Personal Letter/End Comments
Personal Letter/ End Comments can be a way for you to help the student to distinguish between higher order concerns from lower order concerns while also addressing the student from a readers perspective. The personal letter/end comments are designed to focus on one or two substantive issues that are present in the students text. It can help identify the strengths of the paper, suggest improvements, and/or explain the reason for the grade. There are many different ways that you can construct the personal letter/ end comments; however, here are some helpful things to include.
Don't just focus on the negative. Provide a couple of sentences that reinforce or highlight what the student has done well in their text. This way, the student can continue to implement the things that are working for future written assignments.
Respond as a reader and mention specific places in the text that you had difficulty with. Make sure you are specific with both your praise and critique. You may want to consider limiting your suggestions to only one or two aspects of the students writing, as more than that may overwhelm the student.
If it is an early draft, offer up some suggestions as to what the student can improve on for the next draft. These suggestions can be anything from organization, thesis statement, or sentence-level concerns. If it is a final draft, try to come up with comments that may be helpful for the students future writing assignments.
Be careful of providing comments that may appear to be taking control over the students ideas or organization. Instead, try to include suggestions that may help the student restructure or add to their ideas. The majority of the students will respond better to suggestions, not commands.