(Re-) Mapping the System: Toward Dialogue-Driven Transformation in the Teaching and Assessment of Writing

  • David Hendrik Slomp Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge
  • Roger Graves University of Alberta
  • Bob Broad Illinois State University
Keywords: Writing, Assessment, Dynamic Criteria Mapping, Curriculum Redesign, Transfer, Mots clés, rédaction, évaluation, refonte du curriculum, transfert

Abstract

Over three days, 180 junior and senior high school English teachers, postsecondary (university and college) writing instructors, workplace (corporate and small business) writing instructors, and government officials who are responsible for portfolios related to workforce training and literacy met to understand from a broad systems-level perspective how writing development was being supported and assessed in Alberta Canada. Conversations were structured using Dynamic Criteria Mapping (Broad, 2003) as a method for understanding the values, expectations, and contextual factors that shape the system. Participants shared values related to clarity of expression, risk-taking, and ability to motivate audience. These values, however, were enacted differently within school and workplace contexts. Writing as a problem-solving activity was identified as a tool for enhancing knowledge transfer within the system. Alberta’s large-scale writing exams, on the other hand, created barriers to transfer and development by undermining shared values within the system. Recommendations related to curriculum redesign, pedagogical change, assessment reform, and professional development are suggested for enhancing students’ longitudinal development as writers.

Pendant trois jours, 180 enseignants d’anglais au secondaire (de la 7e à la 12e), professeurs d’écriture au post-secondaire (université et collège), enseignants d’écriture en milieu de travail (sociétés commerciales et petites entreprises) et fonctionnaires responsables de dossiers relatifs à la formation et la littéracie en milieu de travail, se sont rencontrés pour déterminer, selon une perspective élargie au niveau des systèmes, dans quelle mesure le développement de l’écriture est appuyé et évalué en Alberta, au Canada. Les conversations étaient articulées sur le recensement de critères dynamiques de Broad, 2003 (Dynamic Criteria Mapping) comme méthode pour comprendre les valeurs, les attentes et les facteurs contextuels qui façonnent le système. Les participants ont fait part de leurs valeurs liées à la clarté de l’expression, la prise de risques et la capacité de motiver un public. Toutefois, ces valeurs ne se manifestaient pas de la même façon dans un contexte scolaire que dans un milieu de travail. En tant qu’activité de résolution de problèmes, la rédaction a été identifiée comme outil pour améliorer le transfert de connaissances au sein du système. Pourtant, les examens à grande échelle portant sur l’expression écrite en Alberta posaient des obstacles au transfert et au développement en ébranlant les valeurs partagées au sein du système. On présente des recommandations touchant une reformulation du curriculum, des changements pédagogiques, une refonte de l’évaluation et le perfectionnement professionnel, le tout visant une amélioration du développement longitudinal de l’expression écrite chez les étudiants.

 

Author Biographies

David Hendrik Slomp, Faculty of Education, University of Lethbridge

David Slomp is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge where he co-directs the Masters in Education program in Curriculum and Assessment.  His research focuses on the social consequences of writing assessment practices.  

Roger Graves, University of Alberta
Roger Graves is Director of Writing Across the Curriculum, Professor in the English and Film Studies, and Interim Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on writing assignments across the university and the use of gamification strategies to teach writing.
Bob Broad, Illinois State University
Bob Broad started his career teaching secondary English in Vermont and Washington, D.C., USA.  He is now a Professor of English at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois.  Bob also runs Just Words Consulting Group, working with schools, colleges, universities, and other organizations to help them discover, illuminate, negotiate, transform, and publish what they value.
Published
2015-09-24
Section
ARTICLES