No less than other divisions of the college or university,
contemporary writing centers find themselves within a galaxy of
competing questions and demands that relate to assessment-questions
and demands that usually embed priorities from outside the purview
of the writing center itself. Writing centers are used to certain
kinds of assessment, both quantitative and qualitative, but are
often unprepared to address larger institutional or societal
issues. In Building Writing Center Assessments that
Matter, Schendel and Macauley start from the kinds of
assessment strengths already in place in writing centers, and they
build a framework that can help writing centers satisfy local needs
and put them in useful dialogue with the larger needs of their
institutions, while staying rooted in writing assessment
The authors begin from the position that tutoring writers is
already an assessment activity, and that good assessment practice
(rooted in the work of Adler-Kassner, O'Neill, Moore, and Huot)
already reflects the values of writing center theory and practice.
They offer examples of assessments developed in local contexts, and
of how assessment data built within those contexts can powerfully
inform decisions and shape the futures of local writing centers.
With additional contributions by Neal Lerner, Brian Huot and Nicole
Caswell, and with a strong commitment to honoring on-site local
needs, the volume does not advocate a one-size-fits-all answer.
But, like the modeling often used in a writing consultation,
examples here illustrate how important assessment principles have
been applied in a range of local contexts. Ultimately, Building
Writing Assessments that Matter describes a theory stance
toward assessment for writing centers that honors the uniqueness of
the writing center context, and examples of assessment in action
that are concrete, manageable, portable, and adaptable.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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