What We Really Value

What We Really Value: Beyond Rubrics in Teaching and Assessing Writing

BOB BROAD
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 190
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46nxvm
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  • Book Info
    What We Really Value
    Book Description:

    What We Really Value traces the origins of traditional rubrics within the theoretical and historical circumstances out of which they emerged, then holds rubrics up for critical scrutiny in the context of contemporary developments in the field. As an alternative to the generic character and decontextualized function of scoring guides, he offers dynamic criteria mapping, a form of qualitative inquiry by which writing programs (as well as individual instructors) can portray their rhetorical values with more ethical integrity and more pedagogical utility than rubrics allow. To illustrate the complex and indispensable insights this method can provide, Broad details findings from his study of eighty-nine distinct and substantial criteria for evaluation at work in the introductory composition program at "City University." These chapters are filled with the voices of composition instructors debating and reflecting on the nature, interplay, and relative importance of the many criteria by which they judged students' texts. Broad concludes his book with specific strategies that can help writing instructors and programs to discover, negotiate, map, and express a more robust truth about what they value in their students' rhetorical performances.

    eISBN: 978-0-87421-480-2
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. LIST OF FIGURES
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. LIST OF TABLES
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. PROLOGUE
    (pp. ix-xii)

    In chapter 3 of Drawing the Line: Tales of Maps and Cartocontroversy (1995), Mark Monmonier tells the story of the Vinland Map. Released to the public for the first time in 1965, this map appears to demonstrate that Vikings not only visited what we now call North America centuries before Columbus but also mapped that continent, which would make them—as far as we know—the first in history to have done so. What interests map specialists most about the Vinland Map is whether it is a genuine fifteenth-century document or a flamboyant twentieth-century forgery. And after thirty years of...

  6. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. 1 TO TELL THE TRUTH: Beyond Rubrics
    (pp. 1-15)

    Consider your favorite college or university writing program. Instructors in the program may include tenure-line faculty, adjunct faculty, graduate teaching assistants, and an administrator or two. Some are new to the program; some have been there thirty years. Several of them are trained in the field of composition and teach it by choice; others teach writing only when they can’t teach literature; a few are on the writing staff mainly because it’s a paying job. This diverse troupe probably delivers one or two required introductory composition courses to nearly every student who appears at your institution’s door. Though they diverge...

  8. 2 STUDYING RUBRIC-FREE ASSESSMENT AT CITY UNIVERSITY: Research Context and Methods
    (pp. 16-31)

    For two reasons, readers need to know about the portfolio program at City University and how I studied it. First, the numerous references to sample texts, specific events, and individuals at City University that run through my findings (presented in Chapters 3 and 4) would be difficult to understand and evaluate without a clear picture of both the portfolio program’s elements and my grounded theory research methodology. Second, the streamlined version of Dynamic Criteria Mapping I recommend in Chapter 5 for all college and university writing programs is based directly on the full-fledged qualitative inquiry described here. The current chapter...

  9. 3 TEXTUAL CRITERIA: What They Really Valued, Part 1
    (pp. 32-72)

    We can now look at answers to the question: What did instructors and administrators in City University’s First-Year English Program value in their students’ writing? The multifaceted, surprising findings of this study strongly suggest the depth of self-knowledge and truthfulness of self-representation that other writing programs could gain by conducting Dynamic Criteria Mapping.

    Before readers look at my findings, however, I urge them to read the sample texts presented in appendix B, “Selected Sample Texts from City University,”2 and to make their own notes on the strengths and weaknesses they perceive in these texts. Readers who take time now to...

  10. 4 CONTEXTUAL CRITERIA: What They Really Valued, Part 2
    (pp. 73-118)

    When explaining their pass/fail judgments of students’ texts, instructors at City University most often pointed to the “qualities” or “features” of those texts (see chapter 3, “Textual Criteria”). However, another substantial portion of participants’ discussions focused on criteria for evaluation 5 not directly concerned with the text currently under judgment. These Contextual Criteria demonstrated how pedagogical, ethical, collegial, and other aspects of the environment surrounding students’ texts guided and shaped evaluators’ decisions.

    Rarely do scoring guides venture into the realm of evaluative context when investigating or reporting on how rhetorical judgments are made. Traditional rubrics much more commonly delineate Textual...

  11. 5 A MODEL FOR DYNAMIC CRITERIA MAPPING OF COMMUNAL WRITING ASSESSMENT
    (pp. 119-136)

    At the outset of this book, I argued that contemporary writing assessment stands in urgent need of a rigorous method for discovering how instructors of composition judge their students’ work. Chapter 2 explains the context and methods for my Dynamic Criteria Mapping (DCM) project, and chapters 3 and 4 detail what I learned from using DCM in my study of City University. At the outset of this concluding chapter I foreground the benefits of DCM for all college and university writing programs—and for other organizations. I end by proposing specific strategies by which writing programs can employ this method...

  12. EPILOGUE
    (pp. 137-137)

    Our society’s orientation toward educational evaluation is undergoing a paradigm shift, away from the technical requirements and justifications of positivist psychometrics and toward considerations such as how well assessments support best practices in teaching and learning. In this context, we owe it to ourselves, our students, our colleagues, and our supporters in the wider society to take advantage of these shifts and to develop new methods of writing assessment to illustrate “that knowledge is complex, ambiguous, and socially constructed in a context” (Baxter Magolda, 195; Baxter Magolda’s emphasis). Dynamic Criteria Mapping is one of those new methods. It will help...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 138-138)
  14. Appendix A: ASSIGNMENTS FOR ENGLISH 1 ESSAYS
    (pp. 139-141)
  15. Appendix B: SELECTED SAMPLE TEXTS FROM CITY UNIVERSITY
    (pp. 142-164)
  16. Appendix C: TABULATION OF VOTES ON SAMPLE TEXTS
    (pp. 165-165)
  17. Appendix D: SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
    (pp. 166-166)
  18. Appendix E: Explanation of References to City University Transcripts
    (pp. 167-168)
  19. REFERENCES
    (pp. 169-172)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 173-174)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 175-175)