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Stop teaching on-demand writing, make writers instead

Stop teaching on-demand writing, make writers instead

Written by Deanna Mascle
May 15, 2015

As the director of a National Writing Project site I am frequently asked by administrators and teachers for a quick fix for the on-demand writing scores of their school or district. Let me be clear – there is no quick fix for “problem” on-demand writing scores. The problem is that anyone thinks that on-demand writing tells us anything more than how students perform on that specific writing task in that specific moment in time. The problem is that this is still a thing (oh John Oliver, when will you do one of your witty reports about on-demand writing?). I recently read a blog post by Tim DeWar about his daughter’s first five-paragraph essay experience and I wanted to cry. I know my 14-year-old son is an experienced on-demand writer (as he must be as an 8th grader in Kentucky), but I believe he loses something important every time he is forced to use this formula and cannot exercise his unique brand of creative wit. Why is on-demand writing still a thing? 

Read the full “Stop teaching on-demand writing, make writers instead” post on my Metawriting blog at