Assessing Writing (Cambridge Language Assessment) by Sara Cushing Weigle

By Sara Cushing Weigle

The review of language beginners is having a growing to be influence in English language educating and utilized linguistics. a proper evaluate of students' writing skills is critical for language lecturers as a way to examine the pedagogical wishes in their scholars. whereas there was a substantial physique of labor undertaken on assessing the writing skills of local audio system, the problems surrounding the evaluation of moment language learners' writing talents are nonetheless rising. at this time, nobody quantity has explored those concerns and their implications for language educating practitioners wishing to guage their students' writing. This e-book outlines in an obtainable demeanour the most important tenets of analysis within the box and supply language academics with directions to layout and advance compatible writing evaluation projects for his or her students.

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For example, native speakers of English expect writing to be hierarchically organized, with explicit connections between ideas and direct statements, and with original content (Leki, 1992). English has also been called a `writerresponsible' language (Hinds, 1987), meaning that the writer makes explicit the connections between propositions and ideas in the text so that readers do not need to infer these connections on their own. In a 22 ASSESSING WRITING reader-responsible language, in contrast, the writer leaves many things implicit and it is the reader's job to make appropriate inferences to ferret out the writer's intended meaning.

The genres in which we write were invented by other writers and the phrases we write often re¯ect phrases earlier writers have written. (Hayes, 1996: 5) Much of the current literature on academic writing in a second language (speci®cally in English) emphasizes the social aspects of writing, referring to the process of learning to write in academic contexts as one of `initiating ESL students into the academic 20 ASSESSING WRITING discourse community' (Spack, 1988; see also Swales, 1990). From this perspective, learning to write involves much more than simply learning the grammar and vocabulary of the language, or even the rhetorical forms common to academic writing.

While Brown's list is a valuable, if somewhat oversimpli®ed, starting point for discussing speaking/writing differences, the fact that the differences between speaking and writing go far beyond these surface textual features is becoming widely recognized. In particular, speaking and writing are frequently used in different settings, for different reasons, and to meet different communicative goals. Furthermore, the cognitive processes involved in writing differ in important ways from those used in speaking.

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