Monday, January 26, 2009

College Topic: Writing Assessment

10-second review: Most writing teachers dislike assessment because someone else designed it, they had nothing to do with it, and it is mandated. One reason they resent forced assessment is that it takes time away from teaching. However, teachers become more involved with assessment if they have a part in designing it.

Title: “Adventuring into Writing Assessment.” R Haswell and S Wyche-Smith. College Composition and Communication (May 1994), 220-236. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary/Quote: “…teachers ... have kept their distance from assessment from fear that it will take time from their true work, teaching. In fact, involvement in original assessment projects expands participation in teaching … Our own involvement has given us, for instance, access to conversations from which we otherwise would have been excluded: conversations about general education, upper-division writing courses across the curriculum, and the articulation between our institution, its branch campuses, and regional high schools and community colleges.” p. 234.

Comment: I agree with the authors of this article. My experience with assessment is this: if you do not provide assessment of your course and your teaching, someone else will. And if you expand the assessment project to include different levels of education, you will help clarify issues in teaching writing. Questions will be asked, disagreements will be expressed and some attempt will be made at reaching consensus. You will learn a lot. RayS.

No comments: