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Volume 9, Issue 2: 2016

Contract Grading in a Technical Writing Classroom: A Case Study

by Lisa M. Litterio, Bridgewater State University

The subjectivity of assessing writing has long been an issue for instructors, who carefully craft rubrics and other indicators of assessment while students grapple with understanding what constitutes an "A" and how to meet instructor-generated criteria. Based on student frustration with traditional grading practices, this case study of a 20-student technical writing classroom employed teacher-as-researcher observation and student surveys to examine how students in a technical writing classroom in the Northeast collaborated together to generate criteria relating to the quality of their writing assignments. The study indicates that although students perceive more involvement in the grading process, they resist participation in crafting criteria as a class and prefer traditional grading methods by an “expert,” considering it a normative part of the grading process. The study concludes with implications for integrating contract grading in the technical writing classroom.

Keywords: technical writing, contract grading, assessment, student feedback

Globalizing Plagiarism & Writing Assessment: A Case Study of Turnitin

by Jordan Canzonetta and Vani Kannan, Syracuse University

This article examines the plagiarism detection service Turnitin.com’s recent expansion into international writing assessment technologies. Examining Turnitin’s rhetorics of plagiarism alongside scholarship on plagiarism detection illuminates Turnitin’s efforts to globalize definitions of and approaches to plagiarism. If successful in advancing their positions on plagiarism, Turnitin’s products could be proffered as a global model for writing assessment. The proceedings of a Czech Republic conference partially sponsored by Turnitin demonstrate troubling constructions of the “student plagiarist.” They demonstrate, too, a binary model of west and nonwest that stigmatizes nonwestern institutions and students. These findings support an ongoing attention to the global cultural work of corporate plagiarism detection and assessment.