COPS Editing Strategy

            Mulcahy, Marfo, and Peat (1984) in their report SPELT: A
                        strategies program for effective learning and thinking,
                        formulated an editing strategy based on an adaptation of the
                        KU-IRLD strategy which can be easily used with younger
                        writers.  This strategy entitled COPS assists the student in
                        organizing editing in the writing process.  It focuses on
                        different aspects of the writing separately thus helping the
                        student look for errors in various criteria areas as they work
                        through the editing process.

                           C- Capitalization
                                    Are the first words in each sentence as well as the
                                    proper names capitalized?
                   O- Overall
                                     How is the overall appearance and readibility (i.e.
                                     spacing, legibility, indentation of paragraphs, neatness,
                                     complete sentences, etc.)
                   P Punctuation
                                    Is the punctuation correct?
                   S- Spelling
                                   Are all the words spelled correctly?

                        The student is to reread the composition four times, each time
                        concentrating on one of the four points in COPS.

                        Mulcahy, Marfo, and Peat (1984) suggest other applications for
                        the COPS editing strategy.

                        1.    For proofreading student's own writing after completion of
                              a rough draft.
                        2.   For students checking of each other's work before handing
                              in an assignment.
                        3.    For checking group work after each draft.
                        4.    For proof-reading essay exam questions.

                        They also give suggestions as to some teaching examples:
                        1.    After students have written a rough draft of a paragraph
                              or essay, have them exchange work in order to COPS each
                              other's compositions.
                        2.   Rather than the teacher correcting work, hand it back
                              uncorrected for the students to COPS.  This activity could
                              be used as an initial teaching approach in order to illustrate
                              to the students the effectiveness of the COPS strategy.
                       3.    A modification of the previous example would be to mark a
                              paragraph or composition before returning it to the
                              students to COPS.  Mark the work again after the students
                              have used the COPS strategy of self-correction.  They then
                              can compare it their marks to easily see the usefulness of
                              the strategy.