Reframing Writing Assessment to Improve Teaching and Learning

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

4
REFRAMING STRATEGIES
AND TECHNIQUES

In chapter two, we described the current frames surrounding discussions of higher education, and stories linked to them. Their central concepts, conveyed in words and phrases like “preparedness” and “college and career readiness” are linked to a number of broader, interrelated stories. Within an ever-expanding frame that constrains the range of meanings and actions that can be “commonsensically” associated with these concepts, some approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment are seen as “logical” and others as “illogical,” “impractical,” or “uncommonsensical.” We like the way linguist William Hanks describes how people function when these frames become taken-forgranted. He says that in them, “native actors…are curiously comfortable amidst an infinity of assumption, beneath a horizon as familiar and unnoticed as a night sky” (1995, 5). Their perceptions of “what is,” and the stories that they tell based on those perceptions, become “reality.”

The current stories being told about education, we contend, present some vexing issues for postsecondary writing instructors, program directors, department chairs, and others who want to reframe writing assessment. First, they suggest that while the purpose of education is to prepare students for citizenship, neither instructors nor the educational system understand what is needed for twenty-first-century citizenship and thus cannot adequately fulfill that mission. Second, they say that, in school, students develop the means they need to reach an end that is defined for them—means often described in terms of “college and career readiness,” or “skills,” or “tools.” Many contemporary policy reports focusing on education ask not whether achieving

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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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