Reframing Writing Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning

By Linda Adler-Kassner; Peggy O’Neill | Go to book overview

1
HIGHER EDUCATION, FRAMING,
AND WRITING ASSESSMENT

Consider the following scenario, discussed on the Writing Program Administration listserv (WPA-L). The scenario is based on the experiences of a writing program administrator at a large midwestern university:

The writing program director learns that “there is a movement
afoot” at her university to administer the Collegiate Learning
Assessment (CLA) to first-year students and seniors. This will mean
that these students will take a ninety-minute essay exam designed to
“test” their critical thinking skills. The tests results will be published
so that her institution can be compared to others in its category and,
if necessary, used to improve any weaknesses that are identified.

In listening to the conversations on campus, this program director feels there is an implicit message that the test would be a way of marketing the school as a “first-rate institution.” Although no one explicitly discusses the CLA as an assessment of writing (instead, they say, it is an indication of critical thinking skills), she feels strongly that it will reflect on the writing program.

In response to what she is learning as she listens to the discussions on campus, the program director turns to the national community of writing professionals on the WPA-L to get background information for her upcoming meeting with the university assessment committee. She learns that the test is just one indicator the school wants to use to demonstrate “critical thinking”—although the other indicators were never articulated, at least not to her. After the meeting, she writes a memo to the committee and administrators outlining her concerns based on her knowledge of writing pedagogy, assessment, and the

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Reframing Writing Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • 1 - Higher Education, Framing, and Writing Assessment 1
  • 2 - Framing (and) American Education 13
  • 3 - The Framing of Composition and Writing Assessment 40
  • 4 - Reframing Strategies and Techniques 81
  • 5 - Reframing in Action 110
  • 6 - Reframing Assessment 145
  • 7 - Reimagining Writing Assessment 179
  • References 192
  • Index 205
  • About the Authors 208
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