Course Description: Studies in Rhetoric and Composition
English 696E-002: Issues in Writing Assessment Spring 2006
Prof. Edward M. White W
Office: ML 373 Tel: 520.626.0768 Classroom: ML 405
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Class listserv: email@example.com
Edward M. White. Teaching and Assessing
M. White, William D.Lutz, and Sandra Kamusikiri. Assessment
of Writing: Politics, Policies, Practices.
Brian Huot. (Re)Articulating Writing
Assessment for Teaching and Learning.
Elliot. On a Scale: A Social History of Writing Assessment in
Edward M. White. Assigning,
Responding, Evaluating: A Writing Teacher’s Guide. Fourth edition.
Additional required readings will be drawn from other sources, including the journals Writing Assessment and the Journal of Writing Assessment
Libby Allison, Lizbeth Bryant, and Maureen Hourigan. Grading in the Post-
Black, Donald A. Daiker, Jeffrey Sommers,
and Gail Stygall. New
Directions in Portfolio Assessment: Reflective Practice, Critical Theory, and
John C. Brereton, ed. The Origins of
Composition Studies in the
Bob Broad. What We Really Value: Beyond Rubrics in
Teaching and Assessing Writing.
Richard H. Haswell, Ed. Beyond Outcomes: Assessment and Instruction Within a
Royer and Roger Gilles. Directed Self-Placement: Principles and Practices.
Yancey. Portfolios in the Writing Classroom.
Blake Yancey and Brian Huot. Assessing Writing Across
the Curriculum: Diverse Approaches and Practices.
See bibliographies posted at www.u.arizona.edu/~emwhite for additional reading.
The course is designed to help you gain acquaintance and experience with the theory and practice of writing assessment. Since the evaluation of writing expresses what one values about writing, writing assessment is much more than testing; it involves a wide range of issues in rhetoric and composition. In particular, the course will
1. Give an overview of assessment concepts.
2. Consider the assumptions, strengths, and limitations of a variety of approaches to writing assessment, both large-scale (including program assessment) and classroom.
3. Connect theories and issues in writing assessment to theories and issues in composition studies, writing program administration, rhetoric, teaching, and literature.
4. Provide hands-on practical experience with a holistically scored essay test, multiple-choice testing, and (if possible) a portfolio assessment.
5. Explore the connections between teaching and assessing writing.
1. Class attendance, participation, and presentations, demonstrating timely reading as assigned and suggested. Since this is a small seminar, class and listserv (or D2L) participation is essential. There will be regular oral reports and small-group work. When papers or exercises are due, bring in enough copies so that members of the class can read and discuss your work, or post them in advance to the class listserv (writeassess), or, preferably, both.
2. A term project exploring current issues in writing assessment. (About 50% of the term grade.)
3. A take-home final exam for presentation in class, Wednesay, May 10.
January 11, 18, 25, February 1: In Medias Res.
Developing an Essay Test
Reliability and Validity
Placement of first-year college students
Due Jan. 25: An essay question for the college placement test.
Due Feb. 1: Short Paper. Strengths and weaknesses of essay testing
Read: TAW: Preface, Chaps. 2, 3, 9
ARE: Chaps. 1, 2
OAS: Chap. 5 “Lone Wolves, 1966-2005”
Articles: Elbow, White “Apologia,” Mahala and Vivion
MLA: Part II, Farr and Nandini, Camp
R&G: Foreword, Introduction, Part I
Ruth and Murphy: passim
February 8, 15, 22, March 1: Writing Assessment in Political and Historical Contexts
Write: Due Feb. 22: Short Paper: What makes writing good?
Read: TAW: Chaps. 1, 13
MLA: Parts I and IV, Spellmeyer
Exchange: Purves letter and White response
OAS: Prologue, Chaps. 1 2, 3, and 4
Gould, The Mismeasure of Man: passim
Brereton, The Harvard placement tests from the 19th century
Greenberg, et al.: passim
March 8: Scoring the Large-Scale Essay Test
Write: Due March 8: Term Project problem statement
Read: TAW: Chaps. 4, 10, 11
Broad: Dynamic Criteria Mapping
ARE: Chaps. 6, 7
March 15: Spring Break
March 22: No
class. CCCC in
March 29: Multiple-choice tests and the Assessment Movement
Computer Grading of Essays
Due March 29: Three m/c items testing "writing"
Read: TAW Chaps. 8, 9
MLA: Hughes, Breland
White, Assigning, Responding, Evaluating. 1st. ed. Appendix (hand out)
McAllister and White, “Interested Complicities: The Dialectic of Computer-Assisted Writing Assessment
April 5, 12: Portfolio Assessment
Due April 12: Term project final draft
Read: TAW, Chap. 6
Article: Hamp-Lyons and Condon
MLA: Part IV
ARE: Chaps. 8, 9
ND: Part One and Part Three
Haswell, Part II, Part IV
Belanoff and Dickson, passim, and White review
April 19, 26: Classroom Assessment
Assigning, Responding, Evaluating
Presentation level term paper due April 26
Take-home FINAL EXAMINATION due Wednesday, May 10
Read: TAW: Chaps. 2, 3, 4 , 5, 6
ARE: Chap. 1, 2, 3, 4
MLA: Elbow, North
May 10: Final Examination. Class Presentations.