Student assessment of writing quality as a predictor of writing proficiency.
AuthorTaylor, Victoria Hyrka.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractAs a writing placement measure, holistic scoring represents a breakthrough for compositionists and a welcome alternative to more traditional assessments--particularly standardized tests. However, reliability scores from direct measures are inconsistent; and, except for face validity, other types of validity have not been conclusively established. Furthermore, although writing instructions and writing assessment are inextricably related, testing and placing students in composition courses is still chiefly entrusted to administrators and test specialists. As such, the dual tasks are diverted from what should be the instructors' domain, constituting a threat to the empowerment of teachers as competent professionals. The Projective English Placement Instrument (PEPI) was created as part of the effort toward developing assessment tools that are cost-effective, reliable, valid, and that reflect classroom instruction. The PEPI is a 30-item, peer review instrument with a modified holistic/analytic scale which involves the students in identifying and evaluating characteristics that comprise writing quality. A total of 151 entering Freshman English students participated in this study to evaluate the effectiveness of the PEPI. Results indicate that the PEPI is a reliable, valid, accurate, and cost-effective measure of writing proficiency and placement. As a viable option to more conventional but less pedagogically sound methods of testing, such results invite inquiry and application for administrators, instructors, and researchers alike.