The MAP Committee came together in April for a meeting at CCCC in Atlanta. Our goal was to network with others at CCCC and to refine our framework. Continuing to build on our meetings, the feedback we received at the NWP Annual meeting, and our review of student work, we felt we had developed a sufficiently solid working framework that we could take it out into practice for testing. In developing our framework, we believed assessment could and should address recurring elements of multimodal composing. We identified five recurring elements: context, artifact, substance, process management and technical skills, and habits of mind.
I teach writing at Westlake Middle School in Oakland and am the current co-director of the Bay Area Writing Project. My research interest are teacher education, writing instruction, multimodal projects, and teacher imagination.
Writing Project Site
Few assessment areas have been honed and refined as much as writing assessment. Not that writing assessment is free from controversy—far from it. But in comparison with other focuses for assessment—say critical thinking or creativity—writing assessment has its share of well-worn procedures, rubrics, designs for scoring, and sense of priorities.
But many of these refined processes are challenged by new kinds of texts, especially multimodal texts that may combine modes like text, image, sound, and gesture or collaborative texts that leverage the Internet to include the contributions of many authors through comments or collaborative writing.
So how might our ways of talking about text change if we think about assessment of multimodal texts? To explore this question, the NWP created a Multimodal Assessment Project Committee (MAP).
After our work at the NWP Annual Meeting in Orlando, the MAP Committee met in Davis, California in February 2011. Our goals were to review our overall assessment framework in light of feedback we've received and to reflect on the implications of design in tools like rubrics and graphic representations. What do different designs signal about what is valued in an assessment context and how threads of value inter-relate?
Reviewing Our Assessment Framework
We looked together at the feedback we received on the emerging framework that we shared at the NWP Annual Meeting. There was much rich discussion at the Annual Meeting, and the committee got a real sense from the group how teachers would want to participate and use all or part of our work. That led to some refining of the domains, or areas, in our framework.
We began our work in October 2010 when we held our initial meeting in Davis, California. After reviewing our charge from NWP and the MacArthur Foundation, we began with what seemed to be a very simple problem: How do we talk about the array of multimodal products which authors are creating today? How do we create a shared language for talking about what is valuable in digital videos, VoiceThreads, Word docs, websites, twitter streams, and the other very diverse sets of texts? We wanted to create a framework that would account for, honor, and accommodate these new ways of composing texts.
After exploring the dimensions of the problem in our Fall 2010 meeting, we invited members of the NWP community to join us through a session at the 2010 NWP Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. In the session, participants looked at a range of multimodal student products in relation to two typical and popular rubrics for writing: the 6+1 Trait Rubric and the Washington State Writing Assessment Rubric.