Contextualized writing assessment

CoWAs at various proficiency levels are currently proposed for development to meet a variety of purposes, such as immersion program standards, fulfillment of language requirements at postsecondary institutions, minimum standards for language majors, and so on. Features of the CoWA include the following: All tasks in the CoWA are organized around a theme. Each task is preceded by a context description which relates the task to the overall theme.

Contextualized writing assessment

Guiding Principles for Assessment

Given the high stakes nature of many of these assessment purposes, it is crucial that assessment practices be guided by sound principles to insure that they are valid, fair, and appropriate to the context and purposes for which they designed.

This position statement aims to provide that guidance. In spite of the diverse uses to which writing assessment is put, the general principles undergirding it are similar: Assessments of written literacy should be designed and evaluated by well-informed current or future teachers of the students being assessed, for purposes clearly understood by all the participants; should elicit from student writers a variety of pieces, preferably over a substantial period of time; should encourage and reinforce good teaching practices; and should be solidly grounded in the latest research on language learning as well as accepted best assessment practices.

Guiding Principles for Assessment 1. Writing assessment is useful primarily as a means of improving teaching and learning.

The primary purpose of any assessment should govern its design, its implementation, and the generation and dissemination of its results. As a result… A. Best assessment practice is informed by pedagogical and curricular goals, which are in turn formatively affected by the assessment.

Teachers or administrators designing assessments should ground the assessment in the classroom, program or departmental context. The goals or outcomes assessed should lead to assessment data which is fed back to those involved with the regular activities assessed so that assessment results may be used to make changes in practice.

Best assessment practice is undertaken in response to local goals, not external pressures. Even when external forces require assessment, the local community must assert control of the assessment process, including selection of the assessment instrument and criteria.

Best assessment practice provides regular professional development opportunities. Colleges, universities, and secondary schools should make use of assessments as opportunities for professional development and for the exchange of information about student abilities and institutional expectations.

Writing is by definition social. Learning to write entails learning to accomplish a range of purposes for a range of audiences in a range of settings. Best assessment practice engages students in contextualized, meaningful writing. The assessment of writing must strive to set up writing tasks and situations that identify purposes appropriate to and appealing to the particular students being tested.

Additionally, assessment must be contextualized in terms of why, where, and for what purpose it is being undertaken; this context must also be clear to the students being assessed and to all stakeholders. Best assessment practice supports and harmonizes with what practice and research have demonstrated to be effective ways of teaching writing.

What is easiest to measure—often by means of a multiple choice test—may correspond least to good writing; choosing a correct response from a set of possible answers is not composing.

As important, just asking students to write does not make the assessment instrument a good one. Essay tests that ask students to form and articulate opinions about some important issue, for instance, without time to reflect, talk to others, read on the subject, revise, and have a human audience promote distorted notions of what writing is.

They also encourage poor teaching and little learning. Even teachers who recognize and employ the methods used by real writers in working with students can find their best efforts undercut by assessments such as these.

Best assessment practice is direct assessment by human readers. Assessment that isolates students and forbids discussion and feedback from others conflicts with what we know about language use and the benefits of social interaction during the writing process; it also is out of step with much classroom practice.

Direct assessment in the classroom should provide response that serves formative purposes, helping writers develop and shape ideas, as well as organize, craft sentences, and edit. While they may promise consistency, they distort the very nature of writing as a complex and context-rich interaction between people.

They simplify writing in ways that can mislead writers to focus more on structure and grammar than on what they are saying by using a given structure and style. Best assessment practice uses multiple measures. One piece of writing—even if it is generated under the most desirable conditions—can never serve as an indicator of overall writing ability, particularly for high-stakes decisions.

Ideally, writing ability must be assessed by more than one piece of writing, in more than one genre, written on different occasions, for different audiences, and responded to and evaluated by multiple readers as part of a substantial and sustained writing process.

Best assessment practice respects language variety and diversity and assesses writing on the basis of effectiveness for readers, acknowledging that as purposes vary, criteria will as well.

Standardized tests that rely more on identifying grammatical and stylistic errors than authentic rhetorical choices disadvantage students whose home dialect is not the dominant dialect.


Assessing authentic acts of writing simultaneously raises performance standards and provides multiple avenues to success.

Thus students are not arbitrarily punished for linguistic differences that in some contexts make them more, not less, effective communicators. Furthermore, assessments that are keyed closely to an American cultural context may disadvantage second language writers.

Best assessment practice includes assessment by peers, instructors, and the student writer himself or herself.A Review of Contextualized Learning and Its Importance also lacks this standardized assessment of its current programming. The most rigorous research exists in between the teaching of reading, writing or math and instruction in a discipline or technical field.

Use de-contextualized writing prompts (narratives) the National Assessment Writing Standards ask students to respond to evidence-based The evolution of classroom instruction for the Colorado and common Core state standards: Reading, Writing and Communicating Author: Sandra.

Integrating Contextualized Learning and Basic Skills: Instructional Strategies that Increase Student Success Barbara Illowsky, Ph.D. [email protected] 1.

contextualized writing assessment

Outcomes Attendees will be able to: •Assessment –examining. Contextualized Teaching and Learning: A Faculty Primer reveals common formats for CTL and a set of core elements that characterize course and program design and implementation. Contextualized Curriculum for Workplace Education: An Introductory Guide.

reading, writing and computation below high school diploma level. Programs may also Assessment and evaluation also carry more risks in workplace education. For example, employers might want to tie student performance in class to promotions or lay. Contextualized Reading Assessment (CoRA) The Contextualized Reading Assessment (CoRA) is part of the EMC Language Proficiency Assessments by CARLA (ELPAC) battery of instruments developed for the purpose of certifying the second language proficiency of secondary and post-secondary students.

Writing Assessment: A Position Statement – Conference on College Composition and Communication