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Organic Writing Assessment

Dynamic Criteria Mapping in Action

by Bob Broad, Linda Adler-Kassner, Barry Alford, Jane Detweiler, Heidi Estrem, Susanmarie Harrington, Maureen McBride, Eric Stalions, and Scott Weeden

Paperback Price $28.95
Ebook Price $22.95

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"[The authors] have exhibited the courage to move into the intricacies of their work with patience, confidence, and intellectual curiosity. . . . the book offers readers a wide variety of perspectives on and approaches to writing assessment that are well worth reading."

—Composition Forum


Educators appropriately strive to create "assessment cultures" (Huot 2002) in which they integrate evaluation into teaching and learning and match assessment methods with best instructional practice. But how do teachers and administrators establish the values that underlie their evaluations? Bob Broad's 2003 volume What We Really Value introduced dynamic criteria mapping (DCM) as a method for eliciting locally informed, context-sensitive criteria for writing assessments. The impact of DCM on writing assessment practice is just beginning to emerge as more and more writing departments and programs adopt, adapt, or experiment with DCM approaches.

For the authors of Organic Writing Assessment, the DCM experience provided not only an authentic assessment of their own programs, but a nuanced language through which they can converse in the always vexing, potentially divisive realm of assessment theory and practice. Of equal interest are the adaptations that these writers invented for Broad's original process to make DCM even more responsive to local needs and exigencies.

Organic Writing Assessment represents an important step in the evolution of writing assessment in higher education. This volume documents the second generation in an assessment model that is regarded as scrupulously consistent with current theory; it shows the range of DCM's flexibility, and presents an informed discussion of its limits and its potentials.



Book News, Inc., 2010


Bob Broad is a professor of English at Illinois State University. He teaches graduate courses in rhetoric and composition, writing assessment, research methods, and pedagogy, as well as a variety of undergraduate courses in writing, English studies, and English education.

Linda Adler-Kassner is professor of writing studies, associate dean of undergraduate education, and faculty director of the Center for Innovative Teaching, Research, and Learning at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research and teaching focus broadly on how literate agents and activities—such as writers, writing, and writing studies—are defined in contexts inside the academy and in public discourse. She also examines the implications and consequences of those definitions and how writing faculty can participate in shaping them. She is author, coauthor, or coeditor of nine books, including Reframing Writing Assessment, Naming What We Know, and The Activist WPA.

Barry Alford has taught writing in two-year colleges for more than twenty years. He has also published essays on language theory, postmodernism, and writing assessment.

Jane Detweiler is an associate professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. She explores writing in academic, professional, and public environments, with emphases on narrative as a mode of understanding the world and a means of inventing, composing, and delivering arguments.

Heidi Estrem is professor of English and director of the first-year writing program at Boise State University, which was recently awarded the Council of Basic Writing’s Award for Innovation. She has published on first-year writing pedagogy, new instructor development and support, and a range of writing program administration issues in WPA: Writing Program Administration, Composition Studies, Pedagogy, and numerous edited collections.

Susanmarie Harrington is director of Writing in the Disciplines and a professor of English at the University of Vermont. Her publications include Basic Writing as a Political Act and The Outcomes Book: Debate and Consensus in the Wake of the Council of Writing Program Administrators' Outcomes Statement.

Maureen McBride is the assistant director of the University Writing Center at the University of Nevada, Reno and a co-director of the Northern Nevada Writing Project. 

Eric Stalions is an assistant professor of English and the director of the Intensive English Program at Martin Methodist College.

Scott Weeden teaches in the English department at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.

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  • Paperback Price: $28.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87421-730-8
  • Ebook Price: $22.95
  • EISBN: 978-0-87421-731-5
  • Publication Year: 2009
  • Pages: 174
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: by Bob Broad, Linda Adler-Kassner, Barry Alford, Jane Detweiler, Heidi Estrem, Susanmarie Harrington, Maureen McBride, Eric Stalions, and Scott Weeden
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87421-730-8
  • Get Permissions: Get Permission

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