The photo above shows the bottom line of one of my grading rubrics. I added this line for my students and for myself. For my students, I hope knowing about this line helps them pay more attention to not repeating past errors. Any person who can avoid making the same mistake more than once will do well in life.
More selfishly, I want to prevent myself from being really angry all spring. In the past few years, I've noticed that grading essays in April and May makes me angry. You might be thinking, of course, who wants to grade essays when the sun shines, the flowers bloom, and the temperature rises? That's a good question, but it's not the primary reason my blood boils when I read spring essays. When I read a student's essay, and I realize that I've marked the exact same kinds of errors on every essay that student has written all year long, I think, What's the point? Why am I wasting my time marking errors that this child doesn't fix? If the student doesn't learn from my marks, why bother marking?
I don't want to spend my spring asking those questions and experiencing that ire. Instead, I've started to hold kids accountable for the errors I mark. Logistically, I can't keep track of all of my students' errors to hold each child responsible for his/her/their own development, but I can hold the group responsible for common errors. When I return each essay, I add one error type to the list of mistakes the whole class must avoid on future writing. (So far this year, my eleventh-grade students need to edit more carefully for 75, 155, and 202 -- Feel free to look those up on the Conventions of Composition website.)
If you're a teacher, what do you do to force kids to pay attention to improving? If you're a student, how do you avoid repeating your mistakes? If you're a writer or editor, which errors most annoy you or do you most often miss?