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Advice needed

I am currently teaching a class where the class grade is largely determined by written assignments.  For the first written assignment a student received a low grade.  After the low grade, this student informed me that she attended multiple tutoring sessions at the writing center.  I have now read her second assignment, and it is so much better than the first, that I question how much of the lab report is her own work and how much of it is the tutor’s work.  The new assignment is fundamentally different, from writing style to critical thinking.  It is so much better and so different  that I don’t think that a person’s writing style could have changed so much in a few weeks time.

What, if anything,  can I do determine authorship?
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1 comment to Advice needed

  • Why not ask her to write in/before/after class, an executive summary — one or two paragraphs detailing what her paper is about? Does she understand the topic well enough to write a concise summary in longhand without the aid of a computer, notes or spell check?

    We want to encourage students to write better. Perhaps her tutor at the writing center provided her with a mentor text to work with and she modeled her work on that text?

    Ruth Culham in her new book published by the International Reading Association, says “good writers borrow while great writers steal. Writing thieves read widely, dive deeply into texts, and steal bits and pieces from great texts as models for their own writing.” –from The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing.

    We write for a variety of audiences and our style can be different for each. I know that my writing style has evolved over the years. Some of the changes are a result of those I worked for/with and some of the changes are a result of redirection. At times I was furnished with samples that I could model my work on.

    Hopefully, it is mostly her work,(just coached by her tutor) and that she can write a brief summary on demand.