ERIC Number: ED401317
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Writing Skill Assessment: Problems and Prospects. Policy Issue Perspective Series.
Breland, Hunter M.
Recent trends in writing skill assessment suggest a movement toward the use of free-response writing tasks and away from the traditional multiple-choice test. A number of national examinations, including major college admissions tests, have included free-response components. Most of the arguments in support of this trend relate to the hypothesized effects of testing on curriculum and instruction, but others center around systemic validity and authenticity. There are questions in these areas, however, beginning with the question of what the content of a writing assessment should be. The reliability of free-response writing tests is often reported in terms of interrater reliability, but correlations of scores assigned by different raters can inflate the estimate of reliability. Combining assessment types, essay and multiple choice, is a way to improve reliability that is proving workable. The predictive effectiveness of writing skill assessments is related to reliability. Issues of fairness, comparability, cognitive complexity, and cost and efficiency must be addressed in the construction of free-response writing skill assessments. Technology seems to be an important key to the future of writing skill assessment. The future seems to one of increasing acceptance of performance tasks, and these will be best administered through the computer. (Contains 1 figure and 51 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ. Policy Information Center.