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January 22 , 2008

Assessing the Teaching of Writing


Although fraught with politics and other perils, teacher evaluation can contribute in important, positive ways to faculty development at both the individual and the departmental levels. Yet the logistics of creating a valid assessment are complicated. Inconsistent methods, rater bias, and overreliance on student evaluation forms have proven problematic. The essays in Assessing the Teaching of Writing demonstrate constructive ways of evaluating teacher performance, taking into consideration the immense number of variables involved.

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Contributors to the volume examine a range of fundamental issues, including the political context of declining state funds in education; growing public critique of the professoriate and demands for accountability resulting from federal policy initiatives like No Child Left Behind; the increasing sophistication of assessment methods and technologies; and the continuing interest in the scholarship of teaching. The first section addresses concerns and advances in assessment methodologies, and the second takes a closer look at unique individual sites and models of assessment. Chapters collectively argue for viewing teacher assessment as a rhetorical practice.

Fostering new ways of thinking about teacher evaluation, Assessing the Teaching of Writing will be of great interest not only to writing program administrators but also to those concerned with faculty development and teacher assessment outside the writing program.

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