I'm glad you're undertaking this study. And I hope the right people read
it. The Ontario Ministry has laid a real challenge on all of us by saying
that students need to study examples of actual "destination" writing. I've
just spent the day myself showing such samples to distinctly
surprised-looking groups of university-bound secondary students. It was
good to see that their teachers were also interested and piqued. I only
showed the samples on overhead. Creating a bank of actual samples for
circulation is a worthy goal, especially if there are lots of pieces, not
just a few to be turned into formulas.
The University of California system created such a set of exemplars a few
years ago for their "Subject A" writing requirement. Their samples and
accompanying comments made an excellent way to understand the types of
writing required and the measures used. They were especially well chosen to
indicate a range of ESL and non-ESL writers, and to demonstrate that
coherence and quality of reasoning were the prime requisites. If you can't
find a current set of these exemplars, I could dig out my old files and
send you a copy. I collected these in preparing my report on post-admission
assessment, now long outdated but still on the web at
About references, my first suggestion would be to go to Edward White, whose
books on writing assessment are always worth reading, though he argues a
bit too hard (for my taste) that the timed essay is a valid measure of
postsecondary expectations. His most inclusive book is Teaching and
Assessing Writing (Jossey-Bass, 1994), and his most recent is Assessment of
Writing: Politics, Policies, Practices (MLA 1996). These aren't the most
recent things, but they're sound.
My other suggestion is to contact Alister Cumming of OISE/UT
([log in to unmask]), an expert on assessment and instruction for
postsecondary ESL. He could probably name some recent references right off
(e.g. similar studies that have been done for ETS to re-validate their
TOEFL test), and might advise you on research methods too.
Please keep us updated on this project.
All the best,
U of T Coordinator, Writing Support
Karen Golets Pancer wrote:
> Hi Inkshedders,
> I'm really out of the research loop these days, so I'm hoping some of you folks can suggest sources for recent composition research on the assessment of writing skills at the secondary and college level.
> The kind of research I'm looking for would be similar to that discussed in Cooper and Odell's Evaluating Writing: Describing, Measuring Judging.
> I need this info for a collaborative project between Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology and Secondary schools I'm considering participating in. The project will look at identiifying first-year writing requirements for Colleges and relating those requirements to Secondary School writing descriptors.
> According to the sponsors, the project would, among other things,
> -provide an inventory, analysis, and description of existing writing assignments and practices in Ontario colleges and in secondary schools,
> -provide a set of writing exemplars and descriptors using scales and anchor papers, including those for ESL
> Thanks in advance for any input ( articles, books, names of researchers I could contact) you can give me.
> Karen Golets Pancer
> Professor, Communications Department
> Liberal Arts and Sciences Division
> Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology
> 205 Humber College Boulevard
> Toronto, Ontario, Canada
> M9W 5L7
> (416) 675-6622, ext. 4522
> Fax: (416) 675-3793
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To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
[log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
For the list archives and information about the organization,
the annual conference, and publications, go to the Inkshed Web site at