The assessment of language learners is having a growing impact in English language teaching and applied linguistics. A formal evaluation of students writing . “Writing is a key skill in second language learning and all teachers need to evaluate their students’ writing abilities. The issues surrounding the assessment of. Sara Cushing Weigle – Assessing – Ebook download as PDF File .pdf ), Text File .txt) or read book online.

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The cognitive processes in the Hayes model include text interpreta- tion, reflection, and text production. A typical writing test – in which examinees must write a timed impromptu essay on a topic about which they have no advance knowledge – is relatively inauthentic in at least four ways.

Bachman and Palmer, Writing as a cognitive activity- Writing expertise Before discussing the cognitive aspects of writing in detail, it may be useful to review the literature on writing expertise. In Chapter 2, reference was made to various formulations of the components of language ability in applied linguistics research, begin- ning with the work of Hymes These issues are discussed in detail in Chapters 4, 5, and 6.

The remainder of this section deals briefly with these issues. In developing appropriate writing tests for these different populations, then, it will be important to keep these differences in mind.

To resolve this apparent contradiction, Bereiter and Scardamalia propose a distinction between knowledge telling and knowledge transforming. Along the horizontal axis, three fundamental levels of cogni- tive processing can be distinguished. To con- tinue our discussion of what is meant by writing ability, then, we will now turn to another question: Claudia marked it as to-read Jun 07, The solutions to the rhetorical and content problems become the input for the knowledge -telling process, during which the actual written text is produced.

I will now define the six qualities of usefulness, particularly as they relate to writing assessment.

Motivational and affective factors play a role as well. Employers, academic instructors and writing teachers need weiglle make decisions about poten- tial employees and students, cushhing on how well they can communi- cate in writing. Leaving aside for the moment a precise definition of language proficiency, we use inferences about general language profi- ciency to make decisions such as admission to academic programs, placement into different levels of a language program, exemption from certain coursework, or selection for a particular job.

Assessing Writing

An additional factor is the relative simi- larity or difference between the two languages: For the purposes of language testing, Bachman and Palmer’s perspective helps clarify the distinction between speaking and writing because these are seen not as fundamentally different abilities per se, but as different types of language-use tasks.

If it turned out that hand-written essays received significantly higher scores than typed essays, this would be considered evidence against construct validity, as transcription mode is not part of the definition of the construct. Thus, construct validation is specific to each test and depends crucially on the definition of the ability of interest for a particular testing context.


Investigation into contrastive rhetoric has demonstrated that cul- tural expectations can have a consequence for the coherence of texts – that is, the organization of a text into a meaningful whole. These notions The nature of writing ability 29 are essential to consider in describing the writing situation fully and in developing tasks for writing assessment, and will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 5. Bereiter and Scardamalia, Writing has also become more important as tenets of communicative language teaching – that is, teaching language as a system of communication rather than as an object of study – have taken hold in both second- and foreign-language settings.

Again, the Grabe and Kaplan model can be used to fill in this gap.

Assessing Writing – Sara Cushing Weigle – Google Books

It’s now up to us to decide what to do, and once we do we have enough information here to keep us quite busy The authors never offer up their opinion on what is best, which is maybe the best feature about it. The rest of Chapter 1 provides an introduction to writing assessment by considering, first of all, the reasons why people use writing in second-language contexts, and second, the types of writing texts people are likely to need to write in a second language, both inside and outside the language classroom.

The role of reader expectations has important implications for the scoring of writing tasks and will be discussed again in Chapter 4. Return to Book Page. Tests, particularly large-scale, high-stakes tests, can also have an impact on society as a whole, so it is crucial to consider the value systems that a given test may be promoting. Awareness of differences across languages F. Hayes’ model of working memory is based upon a well-known conception of working memory developed by Baddeleywith some modifications.

Inferences about achievement – or the degree to which individuals or groups of students have met specific instructional goals – are used to make decisions about grading and promotion on the individual level, and about modification of instruc- tion on the classroom level. That is, the test task – in our case, a writing task – must be representative of the type of writing that examinees will need in the world beyond the test.

Writing is ‘an act that takes place within a context, that accomplishes a particular purpose, and that is appropriately shaped for its intended audience’ Hamp-Lyons and Kroll, Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Test usefulness Bachman and Palmer The assessment of language learners is having a growing impact in English language teaching and applied linguistics. Withoutabox Submit to Film Festivals. What tasks should be used?

Book Description This book provides language teachers with guidelines to develop suitable writing tests. Open Preview See a Problem? Assessing Reading Cambridge Language Assessment. Bachman and Palmer note that test takers themselves can be affected by three aspects of testing procedures: For the purposes of this book, it is important to be aware of these issues because the social context of writing influences, among other things, the choice of genre and task in writing assessment.


For example, Hughes argues that in general language proficiency testing, writing tasks that require examinees to use their own content knowledge should not be used, stating that ‘in language testing, we are not normally interested in knowing whether students are creative, imaginative, or even intelligent, have wide general knowledge, or have good reasons for the opinions they happen to hold.

And to boot, the authors simply provide the information, never get preachy, or demand one method over another. Chapter 4 reviews a large body of research on writing assessment, looking at writing tasks, rating scales, raters, and texts.

Second, except in the case of timed examinations, most academic writing is not timed or speeded, and writers can take as much time as their schedules and inclinations allow to reflect on the topic, refer to outside sources, and revise and edit their writing before turning it in for a grade. However, as we shall see, designing a good test of writing involves much more than simply thinking of a topic for test takers to write about and then using our own judgement to rank order the resulting writing samples.

As opposed to the Grabe and Kaplan taxonomy of language knowl- edge specifically relevant to writing, the more general taxonomy of components of language ability put forth by Bachman and Palmer and Douglas consists of grammatical knowledge, or knowledge of the fundamental building blocks of language, textual knowledge, or knowledge of how these building blocks are put to- gether to form coherent texts, functional knowledge, or knowledge about how language is used to achieve a variety of communicative functions, and sociolinguistic knowledge, or knowledge about how to use language appropriately in different social settings.

Assessing Writing by Sara Cushing Weigle

There’s a problem loading this menu right now. Accomplishing this task requires a number of factors other than language knowledge. Investigating relationships between test scores and other measures, frequently referred to as criterion-related validity evidence, involves calculating correlations between the test of interest and other measures of the same construct, such as another test or teacher judgements of student ability.

Spanish writers prefer lengthy xushing, and instead of focusing narrowly on the main ideas of an essay, as in English, Spanish writers make use of digres- sions and asides to show their breadth of knowledge on the topic Collado, ; cited in Leki,