Volume 12, Issue 2: 2019

Measuring Civic Writing: The Development and Validation of the Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum

by Linda Friedrich, WestEd and Scott Strother, West Ed

As youth increasingly access the public sphere and contribute to civic life through digital tools, scholars and educators are rethinking how civically engaged writing is taught, nurtured, and assessed. This article presents the conceptual underpinnings of the National Writing Project’s Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum (CEWAC), a new tool for assessing youth’s civically engaged writing. It defines four attributes of civically engaged writing using qualitative analysis of expert interviews and literature: employs a public voice, advocates civic engagement or action, argues a position based on reasoning and evidence, and employs a structure to support a position. The article also presents reliability and validity evidence for CEWAC. The study finds that CEWAC has a moderate to high level of exact agreement and a high level of exact or adjacent agreement. Covariation analyses showed that, even with similar scoring patterns, CEWAC’s attributes hold at least a moderate level of independence. This evidence, coupled with robust qualitative evidence around reliability and validity, establish CEWAC’s strong technical properties. The findings suggest that CEWAC can be used both in research and in the classroom to make visible attributes of civically engaged writing often overlooked in traditional assessment frameworks.

Keywords: public writing, civic engagement, writing assessment, rubric, reliability

Book Review: Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Building Equity and Inclusion in the Writing Classroom by Asao B. Inoue

by Shane A. Wood, University of Southern Mississippi

Grading writing, or judging language, can be difficult. Asao B. Inoue’s Labor-Based Grading Contracts problematizes traditional assessment practices that assess writing “quality.” Inoue explains how this type of practice operates to reproduce White supremacy because language standards are tied to historical White racial formations. He suggests an alternative assessment method (e.g., grading contracts) that is based on labor and compassion. If you find yourself dissatisfied with classroom grading practices or wanting to understand how writing assessment can be constructed to do social justice work, then Inoue’s Labor-Based Grading Contracts is a great read.

Keywords: grading contracts, race, writing assessment, labor

Co-equal Participation and Accuracy Perceptions in Communal Writing Assessment

by Vivian Lindhardsen, Teachers College, Columbia University

The present study examines the extent of raters’ co-equal engagement and accuracy perceptions in a communal writing assessment (CWA) context, where raters collaborate to reach final scores on student scripts. Results from recorded discussions between experienced CWA raters when they deliberated to reach a final score supplemented with their retrospective reports show that, although some raters were more verbose than their co-raters, they displayed signs of co-equal engagement and reached what they perceived to be the most accurate scores possible for the student scripts. This study supports a hermeneutic approach to examining validity in writing assessment.

Keywords: CWA, score accuracy, hermeneutic, co-equal, collaborative assessment, score negotiation.