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Highlighters and extended writing

Highlighters, if used consistently can have a huge impact on a student in terms of developing their extended writing skills. They should be used to highlight the connectives/aspects of their answer needed when addressing a specific command term.

For example, in a 9m question where students need to evaluate, their answer will need to demonstrate knowledge and understanding, analysis as well as evaluation. Each skill can be highlighted using different coloured highlighters.

By highlighting the different aspects of their answer, students can see for themselves whether or not they have answered the question properly. If they have only a few pieces of their answer highlighted, they instinctively reflect on their work and know that it needs to be improved. They can do this without the teacher having to tell them directly which means students start to take more responsibility for the quality of work they are producing.


When I teach students to write an exam question where they have to evaluate, I make them highlight their answer as follows;                                            


Orange highlighter  - analysis/effect           (as a result/therefore/this could lead to)

Green highlighter  - evaluation            (to conclude, my most important reason, short term/long term, however, even though)

Blue highlighter - application/linking            (data/facts/figures/stats/ key information from a case study)




Watch: Highlighters and extended writing

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