Guide to College Writing Assessment
Guide to Assessment
A Guide to College Writing Assessment
Peggy O'Neill, Cindy Moore, and Brian Huot
7 x 10, 232 pages

Published: 2009

ISBN 978-0-87421-732-2
paper $28.95

ISBN 978-0-87421-733-9
e-book $23.95

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Peggy O'Neill, associate professor of writing, directs the composition program and teaches writing in the Department of Writing at Loyola University, Maryland. Her scholarship focuses on writing assessment, pedagogy, and program administration and the disciplinarity of composition. Her work appears in journals such as the Journal of Writing Assessment and College Composition and Communication, as well as in several edited collections. She has edited or co-edited four books, most recently Blurring Boundaries: Developing Writers, Researchers and Teachers (Hampton Press 2007) and, with Brian Huot, Assessing Writing: A Critical Sourcebook (Bedford St. Martin's / NCTE 2008).

Cindy Moore serves as associate professor and chair of the Department of Writing at Loyola University Maryland. Over the past ten years, she has directed writing programs and taught a wide range of writing courses at universities in Indiana, Minnesota, and Kentucky. Her current scholarly interests include professional mentoring and program assessment. She has co-edited or co-authored several books, including The Dissertation and the Discipline: Reinventing Composition Studies (Boynton/Cook 2002), Practice in Context: Situating the Work of Writing Teachers (NCTE 2002), and A Guide to Professional Development for Graduate Students in English (NCTE 2006).

Brian Huot has been working in writing assessment for two decades. His focus has been to integrate theories and principles from educational measurement with an understanding of the ways in which writing is theorized and researched. His work has appeared in several edited collections, and in journals including College English, Review of Educational Research, and College Composition and Communication. He co-edited Validating Holistic Scoring for Writing Assessment, Assessing Writing Across the Curriculum and Assessing Writing: A Critical Sourcebook. His monograph (Re)Articulating Writing Assessment for Teaching and Learning was also published by Utah State University Press (2002). Huot is professor of English and coordinator of the writing program at Kent State University.

A Guide to College
Writing Assessment

Peggy O'Neill, Cindy Moore, and Brian Huot

Grounded in the day-to-day pragmatic issues that writing professionals confront outside the classroom, in the areas of placement, exit exams, program evaluations, institutional evaluations (for accreditation by various agencies), and faculty assessments, the Guide consistently affirms the principles of solid assessment: "that [assessment] practices should not—cannot—be considered outside historical, theoretical, and situational scenes" (12).
—Gerri McNenny, Composition Forum (Spring 2011)

While most English professionals feel comfortable with language and literacy theories, assessment theories seem more alien. English professionals often don't have a clear understanding of the key concepts in educational measurement, such as validity and reliability, nor do they understand the statistical formulas associated with psychometrics. But understanding assessment theory--and applying it--by those of us who are not psychometricians is critical in developing useful, ethical assessments in college writing programs, and in interpreting and using assessment results.

A Guide to College Writing Assessment is designed as an introduction and source book for WPAs, department chairs, teachers, and administrators. Always cognizant of the critical components of particular teaching contexts, O'Neill, Moore, and Huot have written sophisticated but accessible chapters on the history, theory, application and background of writing assessment, and they offer a dozen appendices of practical samples and models for a range of common assessment needs.

Because there are numerous resources available to assist faculty in assessing the writing of individual students in particular classrooms, A Guide to College Writing Assessment focuses on approaches to the kinds of assessment that typically happen outside of individual classrooms: placement evaluation, exit examination, programmatic assessment, and faculty evaluation. Most of all, the argument of this book is that creating the conditions for meaningful college writing assessment hinges not only on understanding the history and theories informing assessment practice, but also on availing ourselves of the range of available assessment practices.

Preview the Introduction in PDF

Book Review Composition Forum Spring 2011

Book Review College Composition and Communication CCC 61:4 / June 2010, Micahel R. Neal in PDF

Book Review Book News Inc. Summer 2009