Assessing Writing (Cambridge Language Assessment) by Sara Cushing Weigle

By Sara Cushing Weigle

The evaluate of language freshmen is having a transforming into influence in English language educating and utilized linguistics. a proper review of students' writing talents is critical for language academics so that it will examine the pedagogical wishes in their scholars. whereas there was a substantial physique of labor undertaken on assessing the writing skills of local audio system, the problems surrounding the overview of moment language learners' writing skills are nonetheless rising. at this time, not anyone quantity has explored those concerns and their implications for language instructing practitioners wishing to judge their students' writing. This booklet outlines in an obtainable demeanour the key tenets of analysis within the box and supply language lecturers with directions to layout and strengthen appropriate writing overview initiatives for his or her students.

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It is a process that can be used to solve one of the fundamental problems of writing, which is to generate content without the bene®t of a conversation partner, as discussed earlier in this chapter. Bereiter and Scardamalia stress the importance of the interactive elements in conversation that are absent in writing: when people converse they help each other in numerous, mostly unintentional ways. They provide each other with a continual source of cues ± cues to proceed, cues to stop, cues to elaborate, cues to shift topic, and a great variety of cues that stir memory.

Test purpose: making inferences and making decisions In choosing or designing a writing test, the logical place to begin is by considering what we plan to use the test for. In other words, why are we interested in testing writing ability ± what is our purpose? Bachman and Palmer (1996) discuss two main purposes for language tests, of which we can consider writing tests to be a subset. The primary purpose is to make inferences about language ability, and the secondary purpose is to make decisions based on those inferences.

While Kaplan's original thesis has been subjected to a number of criticisms (see Brown, 1994, and Leki, 1992, for summaries of these criticisms), the idea of contrastive rhetoric has recently regained respectability, as it has become clear to researchers that many aspects of writing are in¯uenced by culture. Leki (1992) and Grabe and Kaplan (1989, 1996) provide useful introductions to some of the The nature of writing ability 21 cultural in¯uences on writing. They point out that variation in writing in different cultures does not re¯ect inherent differences in thought patterns but rather `cultural preferences which make greater use of certain options among the linguistic possibilities' (Grabe and Kaplan 1996: 184).

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