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Children Writing: Multimodality and Assessment in the Writing Classroom

Written by Anne Herrington & Charlie Moran
August 17, 2010

John Vincent, in a 2006 article from Literacy (40, 1), describes his work with multimodal composing in his class of third-grade students in Victoria, Australia. As he notes, assessment was the difficult piece: there are rubrics for assessing computer skills, but “very few schemes to assess quality or content.”

He therefore “relied principally on qualitative assessments based on Kress and van Leeuwen’s (1996) grammars of semiotic modes, and observations of the degree to which students integrated modes to present the messages.”

Vincent includes actual student multimodal productions in his text and, through his responses to these texts, makes visible the criteria that he is bringing to bear on them—an approach, as he notes, clearly derived from his readings in Kress and van Leeuwen.