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Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 48, No. 3, February 2014

Cover Art for Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 48, No. 3, February 2014

Table of Contents

  • Editors’ Introduction: Special Issue on Diversity and International Writing Assessment [FREE ACCESS]

    Ellen Cushman

    Abstract: Editor Ellen Cushman introduces Mya Poe as the guest editor of this special issue on diversity and international writing assessment and previews the content of the issue.

  • Guest Editor’s Introduction: The Consequences of Writing Assessment

    Mya Poe

    Abstract: Diversity in writing assessment research means paying attention to the consequences of writing assessment for all students’ learning and writing. This special issue of Research in the Teaching of English brings together researchers from various national contexts who share such a perspective to explore the meanings and roles of writing assessment today.

  • A Framework for Using Consequential Validity Evidence in Evaluating Large-Scale Writing Assessments: A Canadian Study

    David H. Slomp, Julie A. Corrigan, and Tamiko Sugimoto

    Abstract: The increasing diversity of students in contemporary classrooms and the concomitant increase in large-scale testing programs highlight the importance of developing writing assessment programs that are sensitive to the challenges of assessing diverse populations. To this end, this paper provides a framework for conducting consequential validity research on large-scale writing assessment programs. It illustrates this validity model through a series of instrumental case studies drawing on the research literature conducted on writing assessment programs in Canada. We derived the cases from a systematic review of the literature published between January 2000 and December 2012 that directly examined the consequences of large-scale writing assessment on writing instruction in Canadian schools. We also conducted a systematic review of the publicly available
    documentation published on Canadian provincial and territorial government websites that discussed the purposes and uses of their large-scale writing assessment programs. We argue that this model of constructing consequential validity research provides researchers, test developers, and test users with a clearer, more systematic approach to examining the effects of assessment on diverse populations of students. We also argue that this model will enable the development of stronger, more integrated validity arguments.

  • The Spatialized Practices of Teaching Writing in Australian Elementary Schools: Diverse Students Shaping Discoursal Selves

    Mary Ryan and Georgina Barton

    Abstract: This paper discusses the teaching of writing within the competing and often contradictory spaces of high-stakes testing and the practices and priorities around writing pedagogy in diverse school communities. It uses sociospatial theory to examine the “real-and-imagined” spaces (Soja, 1996) that influence and are influenced by teachers’ pedagogical priorities for writing in two linguistically diverse elementary school case studies. Methods of critical discourse analysis are used to examine rich data sets to make visible the discourses and power relations at play in the case schools. Findings show that when teachers’ practices focus on the teaching of structure and skills alongside identity building and voice, students with diverse linguistic backgrounds can produce dramatic, authoritative, and resonant texts. The paper argues that thirdspaces” (Soja, 1996) can be forged
    that both attend to accountability requirements and also give the necessary attention to more complex aspects of writing necessary for students from diverse and multilingual backgrounds to invest in writing as a creative and critical form of communication for participation in society and the knowledge economy.

  • Theorizing Failure in US Writing Assessments [FREE ACCESS]

    Asao B. Inoue

    Abstract: How do teachers define failure when learning to write? We don’t ask the question often enough. In this article, I attempt to offer a definition and critique of the nature and production of failure in writing classrooms and programs. I argue that the production of failure in writing assessments can create more purposeful consequences, particularly for those historically most likely to suffer “failures” in writing classrooms: students of color, multilingual students, and working-class students. Drawing upon survey and grade data from California State University, Fresno, I examine two kinds of failure produced in writing classrooms, quality-failure and labor-failure. I argue that quality-failure (associated with judging the quality of drafts) is the least useful kind of failure for writing classrooms, while labor-failure (associated with work and effort) offers better consequences for student-writers and can help articulate a more robust writing construct by including noncognitive dimensions of writing. I conclude by proposing “productive failure” as a future possibility for writing classrooms.

  • Forum: Writing Assessment in Global Context

    Liz Hamp-Lyons

    Abstract: Paradigms of writing instruction and of writing assessment are interconnected, and they are, or should be, affected by the sociocultural context in which they are embedded. In the case of writing assessment, the predominant context is the assessment of the writing proficiency of second- or third-language writers of English. Since the Second World War, English has taken a hold as the language of business and politics, and much of that interaction occurs between and among multiple groups who share only English as a common language. English is also dominantly the language of intellectual exchange, and English language tests are a critical component of decision-making about the movement of people from less-developed countries to countries where they can gain greater educational opportunity. English tests have great value. Everywhere in the world, English
    proficiency is one of the essential keys to unlock the door of educational opportunity and all that promises for an individual’s future. The assessment of writing is, then, socially and politically significant not only within a country’s internal struggles for opportunity for all through quality education, but also between nations.

  • Announcing the Alan C. Purves Award Recipient (Volume 47)

    Kaia Simon, Ellen Dahlke, and Ryan Kerr (2013 Award Committee)

  • The 2013 NCTE Presidential Address: Standards, Students, and the Meaning of Life [FREE ACCESS]

    Sandy Hayes

    Abstract: The following is the text of Sandy Hayes’s presidential address, delivered at the NCTE Annual Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 24, 2013.

* Journal articles are provided in PDF format and can be opened using the free Adobe® Reader® program or a comparable viewer. Click here to download and install the most recent version of Adobe Reader.

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