Download Coming To Terms: A Theory of Writing Assessment by Patricia Lynne PDF

By Patricia Lynne

In a provocative book-length essay, Patricia Lynne argues that almost all programmatic evaluate of pupil writing in U.S. public and better schooling is conceived within the phrases of mid-20th century positivism. considering that composition as a box had discovered its so much appropriate domestic in constructivism, she asks, why do compositionists import a conceptual body for evaluate that's incompatible with composition conception?

By casting this as a conflict of paradigms, Lynne is ready to spotlight the ways that every one conception can and can't impact the form of evaluate inside composition. She laments, as do many in composition, that the objectively orientated paradigm of academic review thought subjugates and discount rates the very social constructionist rules that empower composition pedagogy. extra, Lynne criticizes fresh perform for accommodating the large enterprise of academic testing—especially for capitulating to the discourse of positivism embedded in phrases like "validity" and "reliability." those phrases and ideas, she argues, have little theoretical value inside composition stories, and their technical and philosophical import are downplayed via composition review students.

There is a necessity, Lynne says, for phrases of evaluation which are local to composition. To open this wanted dialogue in the box, she analyzes state-of-the-art review efforts, together with the paintings of vast and Haswell, and she or he advances a collection of trade phrases for comparing review practices, a suite of phrases grounded in constructivism and composition.

Coming to Terms is formidable and principled, and it takes a debatable stand on very important concerns. This robust new quantity in evaluation concept might be of significant curiosity to evaluation experts and their scholars, to composition theorists, and to these now mounting tests of their personal courses.

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Extra resources for Coming To Terms: A Theory of Writing Assessment

Sample text

Even those who disagreed with the scales in principle admitted that the inability to deliver consistent scores on compositions indicated a deplorable absence of standards. Thomas H. Briggs (1922), for example, finds the scales limited, but he still argues that schools, teachers, and departments should devise scales of their own to determine at least grade level promotion, and that any scale used intelligently would be an improvement. He points out that “the alternative seems to be a frank admission that English teachers can not discriminate qualities of composition with sufficient accuracy to gain credence in the reliability of their marks, acceptance of the principle that all pupils shall have the same number of semesters of instruction, each one profiting as he may and no one failing if he is earnest in effort” (1922, 442).

The result: grammar, mechanics, usage, vocabulary, and the like dominated objective tests of writing ability. ” Our contemporary disapproval of this oversimplification, however, does not mean that no correlation exists between the results of such tests and other “measures” of writing ability. As Roberta Camp points out: “From the perspective of traditional psychometrics, in which high test reliability is a prerequisite for validity, the multiple-choice writing test has 32 C O M I N G TO T E R M S also been seen as a valid measure.

He points out that some areas of reliability, such as variability in student health on test days, are beyond the realm of test development and influence all tests. He argues, however, that those elements of reliability within the test developers’ influence should be addressed. He outlines potential problems in the misdevelopment of test questions and the mismanagement of reading sessions, and he emphasizes the increased cost of holistically scored essays. He argues that readers should be encouraged to develop a sense of community through socializing so that they will be more willing to cooperate and see each other’s points-of-view.

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