Here are a few of my thoughts on what I might be interested in contributing to
a Canadian Caucus sponsored session at next year's 4Cs (this is in response to
Cathy Schryer's request a few days ago for some feedback -- I hope my
thoughts prompt some from others as well!).
I'm particularly interested in the general topic of assessment.
Specifically, I would like to do some reflecting on the implications
(theoretical, practical and especially socio-political) of the term
"competency" as a standard for assessing student writing. At Laurentian, we
have a "writing competency requirement" which is linked in an uneasy fashion
to WAC. One thing that I'd like to explore are the cultural values and
behaviours inherent in concepts of competency -- in other words, the
cultural values/behaviours/performances of
the academic discourse community. I might link this with the implication of
competency as providing a kind of threshold ability or skill, as contrasted
to expertise or excellence -- in other words, becoming competent in a
cultural discourse/behaviour allows one barely to step across the threshold
into the "inner sanctum", but it doesn't grant full or dominant membership.
These are just a few very preliminary musings. It occurs to me that the
topic of assessment could be interwoven with the topic of voice, especially
if the issue is student voices -- i.e., what kinds of voices do students need
to speak with in order to be assessed as competent?
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