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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Checklist for portfolio contents from Portfolio plus: Neverthe- less, we need to think about these components when we are designing tests so that we can specify as explicitly as possible the role that they play in the successful completion of the test tasks.

Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life. Tasks such as these are all on the strong end of the continuum.

Assessing Writing by Sara Cushing Weigle

While topical knowledge is sometimes included in a construct defi- nition, personal characteristics and affect are usually explicitly ex- cluded from the construct, and sarra try to avoid inadvertently measuring these factors in a language test. 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.

For a language test, the key to defining the construct of interest is in deter- mining what factors are involved in real-world language use, and which of those factors are essential to what we want to measure and what we do not.

However, it is important to know something about characteristics such as age, sex, and educa- tional background so that we can develop tasks that are appropriate assfssing the specific test takers and to avoid biasing test tasks either in favor of or against test takers who have certain characteristics. The extent to which these different skills actually involve different cognitive mechanisms sarw are simply various socio- culturally mediated manifestations of a more general wrting ability 14 The nature of cushjng ability 1 5 is a matter of some controversy.

These inferences are then used as data for making a variety of deci- sions at an individual, classroom, or program level. In the ensuing five years I gave birth to my second child, moved with my family from Los Angeles to Atlanta to start a new job, bought a house, rejoiced with my much-loved father when he found and married the woman of his dreams, and mourned with my new stepmother a year later when Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away.


An example of a relatively non-interactive writing task would be a task that required examinees to change all the verbs in a paragraph from present tense to past tense. In addition to limited linguistic resources, second-language writers may be disadvantaged by social and cultural factors: Topic of interaction 9.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. In this sense, we can say that first language writing instruction is relatively standardized within a particular culture. In particular, the issue of time constraints is salient for second-language writers, because they are unable to write as fluently and quickly as their native speaker peers. Grabe and Kaplan provide the following list of possible motivators: Spanish writers prefer lengthy introductions, and instead of focusing narrowly on the main ideas of an assessibg, 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, Classification of written text types One important implication of the variety of background, experience, and needs of second-language writers is that the types of writing produced by these different groups vary considerably as well.

Of all the differences between speaking and writing that have been discussed, it is the fact that the addressee is not generally present during the writing process that seems to have the most important cognitive implications. A model for reading to evaluate is found in Figure 2.

Assessing Writing

In other words, the readers who score the writing are interested more in the linguistic aspects of the writing than in whether they feel persuaded or ready to forgive the writer. Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone.

Writingg, 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.

A plan is then generated to write the letter, and the plan is executed to greater or lesser degrees of success, depending on the writer’s control of execution. I am also grateful for their guidance and feedback at every stage of the process.

Until recently, the TOEFL exam- ination did not include a writing sample as part of the standard examination; it was only included assrssing the optional Test of Written English. Cultural aspects of writing The cultural aspects of writing have also been the subject of some controversy.


There are no discussion topics on this book yet. The fourth individual component in Hayes’ model is long-term memory, in which information and asseszing relevant to the writing task is stored.

Interactiveness is impor- tant in language testing because these characteristics are all engaged in actual language use. Hayes’ model of working memory is based upon a well-known conception of working memory developed by Baddeleywith some modifications.

In other words, why are we interested in testing writing ability – what is our purpose? Low-stakes decisions, on the other hand, have a relatively minor impact on individuals and programs, and errors in these deci- sions tend to have less drastic consequences. Knowledge of intrasentential and intersentential marking devices cohesion, syntactic parallelism B. Finally, a model of test usefulness is presented, which provides a systematic approach to considering various aspects of tests that make aszessing more or less useful for a given situation.

This issue will be raised again in Chapter 5. Assessing Grammar Cambridge Language Assessment. Task schemas are defined as ‘packages of information stored in long-term memory that specify how to carry out a particular task’ p. It thus has much to offer to both the test developer and the classroom teacher.

Interpersonal words and phrases 2.

Danny marked it as to-read Nov 13, English writing was described as a straight line, while ‘Oriental’ wrifing was symbolized by an inward-pointing spiral, for example. Irih marked it as to-read Dec 07, One might also imagine some use for connative persuasive writing; for example, writing a letter of application for a job. Topic knowledge is, of course, essential for writing, as one must have something to write about.

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In addition, poor reading comprehension skills may limit one’s ability to evaluate one’s own writing, as mentioned previously in this chapter. Accomplishing this task requires a number of factors other than language knowledge. For the purposes of this chapter I will therefore be looking at writing tests as a specific type of language test, keeping in mind, however, that the degree to which a writing test is specifically mea- suring language as opposed to measuring other cognitive skills is not always clear-cut.

The answers to these questions are provided by this book, which examines the theory behind the practice of assessing a student’s writing abilities.