In Eli Review, a revision plan lets writers copy helpful peer comments and prioritize them in a list, adding their own notes to explain how they’ll incorporate those suggestions in their next draft.
For writers, revision plans create a reflective pause between feedback and revision. In the pause, writers orient toward their larger goals before rushing to fix problems. They select, prioritize, and reflect on the changes needed in their next draft.
For instructors, revision plans are an intervention opportunity. By responding to revision plans, instructors coach the thinking students are doing between drafts. It’s just-in-time instructor feedback. Helping students make better decisions about which peer feedback to follow and how leads to better writers and better writing.
Below, we’ve identified our best resources for instructors and students on how revision plans lead to learning interventions.
Eli’s Professional Development Resources on Revision Plans
Bill Hart-Davidson, “Revision Plans Are More Valuable Than Students Drafts”
For me, the whole reason to assign a draft is to get to a revision plan. It’s similar to asking students to show their work when they work a math problem. I don’t only want to know if they got the right answer to the problem. (In writing, there is often more than one acceptable answer). I want to understand how they reasoned their way through it. So, I adjust the amount of writing I see at one time—I assign a small bit rather than a huge draft—to focus on something that will really help me see where students are in their thinking and in their writing process.
Eli Review team, “Teaching Revision: Helping Students Rethink Their Writing”
Revision planning asks students to think and reflect in a way that allows teachers (and peers) to see that thinking and perhaps provide feedback (or make other interventions). It is also the best way to move students toward deep revision.
As an activity, revision planning is one way to put the select-prioritize-reflect heuristic into action. Students select feedback to guide revision, prioritize the most important revisions, and reflect on the the choices they’ve made.
As a text, the revision plan externalizes students thinking about revision. Making their moves visible demonstrates selection and prioritization and how well they’ve understood the assignment. Reviewing a writer’s revision plan can help instructors see where they might help the writer rethink how they’ll revise a specific piece of writing and also coach them to make better decisions in the future.
Eli Review team, “Your Rubric Asks Too Much, Part ii”
Revision plans reveal the thinking students are doing between drafts. It’s a snapshot of metadiscourse or the thinking-about-thinking writers are doing. Students’ metadiscourse should be informed by everything that’s happening in a feedback-rich classroom. It’s a small bit of typing that lets instructors know how aware students are of all the feedback available to them, not just the peer feedback they received personally.
Instructors can use revision plans to find evidence that students are tuned into feedback and listening to coaching. They can be confident writers are learning when students use language from the review task in their reflection, mention a strategy covered during debriefing, and prioritize helpful feedback from peers.
Eli Review team, “Instructor Profile: Nedra Reynolds”
I thought [a revision plan] was a little too much to ask them to do those for awhile. . . Commenting on revision plans allows me to reinforce the work that reviewers have already done and to encourage writers to trust those reviews or perhaps prioritize the suggestions differently. Rather than seeing a draft cold or in isolation, my feedback becomes part of an ongoing conversation about that text and its status. I realize that I am not “just another” reviewer who is important to the writer’s next move, but I want students to see that I am working with them DURING the revision process, not AFTER it’s over.
Eli’s Student Resources on Revision Plans
Eli Review team, “Using Feedback to Build a Revision Plan” (student tutorial)
Think more broadly about all the feedback you’ve received – the “Additional Revision Notes” section near the bottom of the revision plan will allow you to write anything else you might need to keep in mind as you revise. This space is particularly helpful for addressing things you know you need to deal with but that might not have been addressed in the reviews of your writing. Think about insights you gained from: reading peers’ drafts; giving feedback to peers; hearing models discussed in class; hearing the most helpful comments discussed in class; hearing the instructor identify revision goals from the trait id checklists and ratings; and participating in other class activities.
Eli Review team, “Revision Tasks” (student user guide)
Revision Plans are a tool for writers to plan out their revision before they begin writing it. They are useful for helping to develop a clear improvement strategy that guides the revision process, but also so that instructors can discuss strategies with writers beforehand to make sure that the writer is on the right course. That’s important – revision plans are as much to help teachers coach writers as they are for the writer.