Writing Assessment

Effective writing pedagogy depends on assessment practices that set students up for success and are fair and consistent. Ed White and Stanford Lecturer Cassie Ann Wright have argued influentially that good assessment thus begins with assignment design, including a clear statement of learning objectives and comments on drafts (“response”); thus:

Assessment Design + Response + Evaluation = Assessment

(White 1984; White and Wright 2015)

 

Assessment theory further supports the idea that good writing assessment is:

  • Local, responding directly to student writing itself and a specific, individual assignment

  • Rhetorically based, responding to the relationship between what a student writes, how they write and who they are writing for

  • Accessible, legibly written in language that a student can understand, and available in a time frame that allows them to take feedback into consideration for subsequent writing assignments

  • Theoretically consistent such that assignment expectations, teaching, and feedback are all aligned

(O’Neill, Moore, and Huot 57)

 

For these reasons, we must think about assessment holistically, in terms of how we articulate our evaluation criteria, give feedback to students, and invite them to respond to others’ and their own writing.

Works Cited

O’Neill, Peggy, Cindy Moore, and Brian Huot. A Guide to College Writing Assessment. Logan: Utah State UP, 2009. Print.

White, Edward M. Teaching and Assessing Writing. Proquest Info and Learning, 1985. Print.

White, Edward M., and Cassie A. Wright. Assigning, Responding, Evaluating: A Writing Teacher’s Guide. 5th ed. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015. Print.