How can we assess the writing of our students in ways that are valid, reliable, and fair? That is the subject of the latest podcast episode of Teaching Writing:
Writing assessment: An interview with Dr. David Slomp
In this 30-minute conversation with Dr. David Slomp, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Lethbridge and co-editor in chief of the journal, Assessing Writing, you'll find out how to create assessments that satisfy all three of these criteria. "Valid" speaks to the point that your assessment tool must really assess the characteristic you are measuring. "Reliable" means several things, including that the test or assessment tool gives the same result. And "fair" asks us to consider if all the people who are subject to the assessment have an equal opportunity to perform the task or skill being assessed.
If you a manager and are assessing the writing of people in your workgroup, these three cornerstones apply equally to both summative assessments (year-end reviews) and formative assessments--the kind of coaching or feedback you give on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Do some people in your group receive more difficult assignments? Less time to work on them? Fewer comments or opportunities to revise?
Good assessments are difficult but extremely useful if they give you a good picture of the overall effectiveness of your work group and/or a clear sense of progress or lack of it for those in the group. If some people aren't improving, and you have good data about that, you can then work with them to find ways to get them help with their writing: coaches, seminars (online and in-person), and even peer mentoring. For more information about some of the resources out there, visit my website and check out the online courses available through LinkedIn's Learning page.