New Spaces and Old Places: An Analysis of Writing Assessment Software

Colleen Vojak, Sonia Kline, Bill Cope, Sarah McCarthey, Mary Kalantzis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article examines the strengths and weaknesses of emerging writing assessment technologies. Instead of providing a comprehensive review of each program, we take a deliberately selective approach using three key understandings about writing as a framework for analysis: writing is a socially situated activity; writing is functionally and formally diverse; and writing is a meaning-making activity that can be conveyed in multiple modalities. We conclude that the programs available today largely neglect the potential of emerging technologies to promote a broader vision of writing. Instead, they tend to align with the narrow view of writing dominant in a more recent era of testing and accountability, a view that is increasingly thrown into question. New technologies, we conclude, are for the most part being used to reinforce old practices. At a time when computer technology is increasingly looked to as a way to improve assessment, these findings have important implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-111
Number of pages15
JournalComputers and Composition
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011

Keywords

  • Assessment
  • Learner feedback
  • Pedagogy
  • Technology
  • Writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science(all)

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