Assessment

Essentially, assessment refers to the variety of methods used to
collect information about a learner’s writing ability, including
practices as diverse as timed class tests, short essays, term
assignments, project reports, and portfolios.

Purpose
Placement: to provide information that will help allocate students to
appropriate classes
• Diagnostic: to identify students’ writing strengths and
weaknesses, often as part of a needs assessment, or to spot areas
where remedial action is needed as a course progresses
• Achievement: to enable learners to demonstrate the writing
progress they have made in a course
• Performance: to give information about students’ ability to
perform particular writing tasks, usually associated with known
“real-life” academic or workplace requirements
• Proficiency: to assess students’ general level of competence,
usually to provide certification for employment, university study,
etc.
In most classroom situations, assessments generally aim for either diagnostic or
achievement outcomes, although these often include other subsidiary purposes.
Validity and Reliability
Validity therefore requires a task to assess what it claims to assess and to assess what
has actually been taught.
A writing task is considered reliable if it measures consistently, in terms of both the
same student on different occasions and the same task across different raters.

Approaches to Scoring
A holistic scale
Analytic scoring

Relevant. portfolio. 5. structure. They integrate teaching and assessment. They specify student competencies and genre features. Assessing against Explicit Criteria. . Integrating Teaching and Assessment. Focused on preparedness. This means that students are able to use their knowledge of the purpose. By assessing students against explicit criteria and integrating teaching with assessment. and grammatical features of the genres they have learned to deal with the new or unfamiliar topics or vocabulary that they may find in the assessment task.Some Advantages of Genre-Based Writing Assessment Genre-based approaches are: Explicit. Another feature of genre-based assessment is that the relevance of the test tasks and materials to the learners’ goals helps to promote motivation and to provide a more accurate judgment of learners’ ability to function in target situations. 2. They are directly related to learners’ writing goals. Integrative. 4. Key Principles of Genre-Based Assessment 1. They ensure assessment occurs when students are best prepared for it. These are then used to scaffold and support students and become achievable target outcomes for the course. Related to Students’ Learning Goals. 1. Criteria-referenced assessment 2. teachers can ensure that assessment tasks are only administered when learners are ready and likely to succeed. genre-based assessment makes clear to students what teachers value in writing and emphasizes exactly what is expected from them in any writing task. homework assignments. Ensuring that Students Are Best Prepared for Assessment. They provide explicit criteria for assessment and feedback. The assessment method and the conditions under which they will be assessed should be explained to learners. Because genre-based writing courses strongly support and provide scaffolding for students. Allowing Identification of Competencies. The assessment criteria should be made explicit to students in terms they can understand as early in the course as possible. Students should be aware of the number and kinds of writing that they will have to do—timed writing. Focused on competency. 3.

7.. teachers. help explain why problems may be occurring. and suggest the teaching intervention that may be needed. The assessment should be reported in terms that are understandable to the potential users of the results (e. This implies a degree of rater training. . students should be involved in diagnostic assessments so they can develop techniques for critical reflection and for peer and self-assessment. This is most effectively done through assembling a portfolio collection or providing a checklist of criteria for learners to appraise their own performance (or that of their peers) and move toward independent performance. Where possible.g. The focus is therefore on learning outcomes—what students can do—rather than on ways of teaching. parents. etc. 4. 9. the progress they have made. and a foundation in real-world writing practices. if more than one teacher is involved. students. to aim at consistent scoring. employers. identify student strengths and weaknesses. administrators. Achievement assessment should take place at the end of a cycle of learning or after experience of working independently to create a genre to ensure learners’ best performance. There should be regular diagnostic assessments to monitor progress. a feature that also implies relevance. 3. and what they need to do to improve their performance further. 8. The assessment should meet conditions of validity by being directly related to the genres students have studied. The assessment should be reliable in that all assessors are in overall agreement on the criteria and how they will be applied. The assessment should employ criteria-referenced scales that describe necessary competencies to select and effectively create a genre using appropriate social knowledge and language features. 6. 5.etc. usefulness.). 10. Students should receive feedback on all assessment tasks in order to point out their strengths.