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.
Are the first words in each sentence as well as the
proper names capitalized?
How is the overall appearance and readibility (i.e.
spacing, legibility, indentation of paragraphs, neatness,
complete sentences, etc.)
Is the punctuation correct?
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
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
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