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Reimagining Writing Assessment

From Scales to Stories

By Maja Wilson
Foreword by Thomas Newkirk

Maja Wilson offers teachers a new way of looking at writing assessment that takes a more authentic approach than scales and rubrics.

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“This book is for teachers who want to honor their students’ experiences as writers and readers—and their own.” —Maja Wilson

In Reimagining Writing Assessment, Maja Wilson shows us that by replacing the scales embedded in rubrics with new tools--an array of interpretive lenses designed to observe and describe growth—we can create healthier readers and writers who are more proficient in the long run and more motivated to read and write. She reminds us that “assess” in its Latin derivation means “sit beside.” In this book she models new ways of “sitting beside,” listening to student stories of the writing, respecting the writer’s intentions, and telling stories of our reading.

Taking the form of conversations, Maja’s new definition of writing assessment is not an outcome or final evaluation: it is an ongoing process in which writers and readers make meaning from texts and attempts, from intentions and effects. In this process, teachers come to understand how to teach and talk with each student about writing differently. And students learn to understand and take control of their own development as decision-makers.

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