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The NWP Multimodal Assessment Project

Written by Lanette Jimerson
September 22, 2011

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).  

The MAP Committee, co-chaired by Carl Whithaus of the University of California, Davis, and Elyse Eidman-Aadahl of the NWP, began its work in Fall 2010.  Members include Tara Porter, UC-Davis; Sandra Murphy, UC-Davis/Area 3 Writing Project; Kris Blair, Bowling Green State University; Joe Wood, Area 3 Writing Project; Chuck Jurich, High Desert Writing Project; Lanette Jimerson, Bay Area Writing Project; Will Hochman, Southern Connecticut State University; Becky Rupert, Hoosier Writing Project; and Danielle DeVoss, Michigan State University. The effort was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning project.

In this resource, we hope to share our efforts…meeting by meeting…and invite your comments and contributions. In the navigation box at the left, you will see our work develop over the growing pages of the resource, each with its associated discussion thread. We welcome your contributions and encourage you to follow this resource for news and updates about our work.

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