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College Composition and Communication, Vol. 41, No. 2, May 1990

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Pickett, Nell Ann. Rev. of The American Community College by Arthur M. Cohen and Florence B. Brawer. CCC 41.2 (1990): 226-227.

Harris, Joseph. Rev. of Rescuing the Subject: A Critical Introduction to Rhetoric and the Writer by Susan Miller; The Written World: Reading and Writing in Social Contexts by Susan Miller. CCC 41.2 (1990): 227-229.

Brandt, Deborah. Rev. of Writing as Social Action by Marilyn M. Cooper and Michael Holzman. CCC 41.2 (1990): 229-231.

Middleton, Joyce Irene. Rev. of The Double Perspective: Language, Literacy, and Social Relations by David Bleich. CCC 41.2 (1990): 231-233.

Gere, Anne Ruggles. Rev. of Writing and Response: Theory, Practice, and Research by Chris M. Anson. CCC 41.2 (1990): 233-234.

Philbin, Alice. Rev. of Technical and Business Communication: Bibliographic Essays for Teachers and Corporate Trainers by Charles H. Sides. CCC 41.2 (1990): 234-235.

Holdstein, Deborah H. Rev. of Writing and Technique by David Dobrin. CCC 41.2 (1990): 235-237.

Bernhardt, Stephen A. Rev. of Worlds of Writing: Teaching and Learning in Discourse Communities at Work by Carolyn B. Matelene. CCC 41.2 (1990): 237-239.

Fenza, D. W. Rev. of Creative Writing in America: Theory and Pedagogy by Joseph M. Moxley. CCC 41.2 (1990): 239-240.

Cook, Albert B. “Response to Donald C. Stewart, ‘What Is an English Major, and What Should It Be?'” CCC 41.2 (1990): 223-224.

Stewart, Donald C. “Reply by Donald C. Stewart.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 224-225.

Fulwiler, Toby. “Looking and Listening for My Voice.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 214-220.

Brueggemann, Brenda Jo. “Signs and Numbers of the Times: Harper’s ‘Index’ as an Essay Prompt.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 220-222.

Huot, Brian. “Reliability, Validity, and Holistic Scoring: What We Know and What We Need to Know.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 201-213.


The author’s purpose in this essay is “to outline the present state of holistic writing evaluation, the inflated position of reliability and the neglected status of validity, and to consider what we know and what we need to know in order to establish the theoretic soundness of holistic scoring procedures.” Holistic, rubric-based scoring emphasizes the reliability of scores, but the author warns that these holistic scoring procedures change the natural relationship between the reader and the text, forcing the scorer to look narrowly at a piece of writing instead of valuing a personal, subjective reaction to the text. The author argues that the field needs to further develop holistic scoring procedures that will be more accurate and valid in assessing the effectiveness of student writing.


ccc41.2 Holistic Writing Validity Reliability Raters Score Testing Students Evaluation Quality Research EWhite

Works Cited

Anastasi, Anne. Psychological Testing. 4th ed. New York: Macmillan, 1976.
Anderson, Richard c., and P. David Pearson. “A Schema-Theoretic View of Basic Processes in Reading Comprehension.” Handbook of Reading Research. Ed. P. David Pearson. New York: Longman, 1984. 225-92.
Baurer, Barbara A. A Study of the Reliabilities and Cost Efficiencies of Three Methods of Assessment for Writing Ability. ERIC, 1981. ED 216 357.
Bleich, David. Readings and Feelings: An Introduction to Subjective Criticism. Urbana: NCTE, 1975.
—. Subjective Criticism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978.
Braddock, Richard, Richard Lloyd-Jones, and Lowell Schoer. Research in Written Composition. Champaign: NCTE, 1963.
Breland, Hunter M. “Can Multiple-Choice Tests Measure Writing Skills?” College Board Review 103 (Spring 1977): 11-13, 23-33.
Breland, Hunter M., and Robert J. Jones. “Perceptions of Writing Skills.” Written Communication 1 (Jan. 1984): 10 1-09.
Charney, Davida A. “The Validity of Using Holistic Scoring to Evaluate Writing: A Critical Overview.” Research in the Teaching of English 18 (Feb. 1984): 65-81.
Collins, James L., and Michael M. Williamson. “Spoken Language and Semantic Abbreviation in Writing.” Research in the Teaching of English 15 (February 1981): 23-35.
Cooper, Charles R. “Holistic Evaluation of Writing.” Evaluating Writing: Describing, Measuring, Judging. Ed. Charles R. Cooper and Lee Odell. Urbana: NCTE, 1977. 3-32.
Crowhurst, Marion. “Syntactic Complexity and Teachers’ Ratings of Narratives and Arguments.” Research in the Teaching of English 14 (Oct. 1980): 223-32.
Davis, Barbara G., Michael Scriven, and Susan Thomas. The Evaluation of Composition Instruction. Inverness: Edgepress, 1981.
Diederich, Paul B. Measuring Growth in English. Urbana: NCTE, 1974.
Diederich, Paul B., John W. French, and Sydell T. Carlton. Factors in the judgment of Writing Quality. Princeton: Educational Testing Service, 1961. ETS RB NO 61-15.
Faigley, Lester, Roger D. Cherry, David A. Jolliffe, and Anna M. Skinner. Assessing Writers’ Knowledge and Processes of Composing. Norwood: Ablex, 1985.
Fish, Stanley. Is There a Text in This Class? Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1980.
Freedman, Sarah W. “How Characteristics of Students’ Essays Influence Teachers’ Evaluation.” Journal of Educational Psychology 71 (June 1979): 328-38.
—. “Influences of Evaluation of Expository Essays: Beyond the Text.” Research in the Teaching of English 15 (Oct. 1981): 245-55.
—. “Influences on the Evaluators of Student Writing.” DAI 37 (1977): 5306A. Stanford U.
—. “Why Do Teachers Give the Grades They Do?” CCC30 (May 1979): 161-64.
Freedman, Sarah W., and Robert C. Calfee. “Holistic Assessment of Writing: Experimental Design and Cognitive Theory.” Research on Writing. Ed. Peter Mosenthal, Lynne Tamor, and Sean A. Walmsley. New York: Longman, 1983. 75-98.
Gebhard, Anne O. “Writing Quality and Syntax: A Transformational Analysis of Three Prose Samples.” Research in the Teaching of English 12 (Oct. 1978): 211-31.
Gere, Anne R. “Written Composition: Toward a Theory of Evaluation.” College English 42 (Sept. 1980): 44-48.
Godshalk, Fred I., Frances Swineford, and William E. Coffman. The Measurement of Writing Ability. Research Monograph 6. New York: College Entrance Examination Board, 1966.
Goodman, Kenneth S. Language and Literacy: The Selected Writings of Kenneth S. Goodman. London: Rouc1edge and Kegan Paul, 1982.
Greenberg, Karen. The Effects of Variations in Essay Questions on the Writing Performance of CUNY Freshmen. New York: CUNY Instructional Resource Center, 1981.
Grobe, Cary. “Syntactic Maturity., Mechanics and Vocabulary as Predictors of Quality Ratings.” Research in the Teaching of English 15 (Feb. 1981): 75-88.
Harris, Winfred H. “Teacher Response to Student Writing: A Study of the Response Patterns of High School English Teachers to Determine the Basis for Teacher Judgment of Student Writing.” Research in the Teaching of English 11 (May 1977): 175-85.
Hoetker, James. “Essay Examination Topics and Student Writing.” CCC 33 (Dec. 1982): 377-92.
Holland, Norman N. The Dynamics of Literary Response. New York: Oxford UP, 1968.
Huot, Brian. “The Validity of Holistic Scoring: A Comparison of the Talk-Aloud Protocols of Novice and Expert Holistic Raters.” Diss. Indiana U of Pennsylvania, 1988.
Iser, Wolfgang. The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978.
Jones, Bennie E. “Marking of Student Writing by High School Teachers in Virginia During 1976.” DAI 38 (1978): 3911A. U of Virginia.
Lyman, Howard B. Test Scores and What They Mean. 3rd ed. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice, 1978.
Markham, Lynda R. “Influences of Handwriting Quality on Teacher Evaluation of Student Work.” American Educational Research Journal 13 (Fall 1976): 277-83.
McColly, William. “What Does Educational Research Say About the Judging of Writing?” Journal of Educational Research 64 (December 1970): 148-56.
Myers, Miles. A Procedure for Writing Assessment and Holistic Scoring. Urbana: NCTE, 1980.
Neilsen, Lorraine, and Gene Piche. “The Influence of Headed Nominal Complexity and Lexical Choice on Teachers’ Evaluation of Writing.” Research. in the Teaching of English 15 (Feb. 1981): 65-74.
Nold, Ellen W. The Basics of Research: The Evaluation of Writing. ERIC, 1978. ED 166 713.
Nold, Ellen W., and Sarah W. Freedman. “An Analysis of Readers’ Responses to Essays.” Research in the Teaching of English 11 (May 1977): 164-74.
Odell, Lee, and Charles R. Cooper. “Procedures for Evaluating Writing: Assumptions and Research.” College English 42 (Sept. 1980): 35-43.
Popham, James W. Modern Educational Measurement. Englewood: Prentice, 1981.
Puma, Vincent D. “The Effects of the Degree of Audience Intimacy on Linguistic Features and Quality in the Audience Specified Essays of First Year College Students.” Diss. Indiana U of Pennsylvania, 1986.
Scherer, Darlene L. Measuring the Measurements: A Study of the Evaluation of Writing-An Annotated Bibliography. ERIC, 1985. ED 260 455.
Sloan, Charles A., and Iris McGinnis. The Effects of Handwriting on Teachers’ Grading of High School Essays. ERIC, 1978. ED 220 836.
Smith, Frank. Understanding Reading. 3rd ed. New York: Holt, 1983.
—. “The Writer as Reader.” Language Arts 60 (1983): 558-67.
Smith, William L. Personal Correspondence. U of Pittsburgh, 1988.
Spandel, Vicki, and Richard J. Stiggins. Direct Measures of Writing Skill: Issues and Applications. Portland: Northwest Regional Laboratory, 1980.
Standards for Educational and Psychological Tests. Washington: American Psychological Association, 1974.
Stewart, Murray F., and Cary H. Grobe. “Syntactic Maturity, Mechanics, Vocabulary and Teachers’ Quality Ratings.” Research in the Teaching of English 13 (Oct. 1979): 207-15.
Stock, Patricia L., and Jay L. Robinson. “Taking on Testing.” English Education 19 (May 1987): 93-121.
Tierney, Robert J., and P. David Pearson. “Toward a Composing Model of Reading.” Language Arts 60 (May 1983): 568-80.
Vaughan, Carolyn. “What Affects Raters’ Judgments)” CCCC Convention. Atlanta, Mar. 1987.
Veal, L. Ramon, and Sally A. Hudson. “Direct and Indirect Measures for Large-Scale Evaluation of Writing.” Research in the Teaching of English 17 (Oct. 1983): 290-96.
White, Edward M. Teaching and Assessing Writing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1985.
White, Edward M., and Linda G. Polin. Research in Effective Teaching of Writing: Volumes I and II. Final Project Report to California State U Foundation. ERIC, 1986. ED 275007.

White, Edward M. “Language and Reality in Writing Assessment.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 187-200.


This article investigates the difference between how compositionists assess writing and how those outside the field, such as administration, assess writing performance, citing that the difference comes from a conflict between discourse communities. This spells trouble for writing programs, who are evaluated by measurement specialists who come from other fields that have a different set of assumptions, definitions, and beliefs about writing. The author argues that writing teachers are right to be vocal against measurement techniques that reduce writing to a mechanical skill, but to dismiss all assessment is unwise, for there is value in measurement practices that take into account the complex nature of writing. Above all, the author argues, compositionists interested in assessment should broaden their reading in order to understand, appreciate, and use knowledge on writing evaluation produced by other fields.


ccc41.2 Language Writing Measurement Assessment Value World Community Score Discourse Students Data Testing Reality

Works Cited

Bloom, Benjamin, et al. Handbook on Formative and Summative Evaluation of Student Learning. New York: McGraw, 1971.
Cronbach, 1. J., M. Rajaratnam, and G. Gleser. “Theory of Generalizability: A Liberation of Reliability Theory.” British Journal of Statistical Psychology 16.2 (963): 137-63.
Hillocks, George, J r. Research on Written Composition: New Directions for Teaching. Urbana: NCTE, 1986.
Leitch, Vincent. “Deconstruction and Pedagogy.” Writing and Reading Differently. Ed. G. Douglas Atkins and Michael Johnson. Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 1985. 1-26.
Sapir, Edward. “The Status of Linguistics as a Science.” Selected Writings in Language. Culture and Personality. Ed. David G. Mandelbaum. Berkeley: U of California P, 1963. 160-66.
Skinner, B. F. Beyond Freedom and Dignity. New York: Knopf, 1972.
White, Edward M. Teaching and Assessing Writing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1985.
White, Edward M., and Leon Thomas. “Racial Minorities and Writing Skills Assessment in The California State University and Colleges.” College English 43 (Mar. 1981): 276-83.
Whorf, Benjamin L. “Science and Linguistics'” Language, Thought, and Reality: Selected Writings. Ed. John B. Carroll. Cambridge: MIT P, 1956. 207-19.

Tirrell, Mary Kay. “James Britton: An Impressionistic Sketch.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 166-171.

Pradl, Gordon M. “Collaborating with Jimmy Britton.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 171-175.

Warnock, John. “Rejoicing in the Margins.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 176-181.

Britton, James. “James Britton: An Impressionistic Sketch: A Response.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 181-186.


ccc41.2 JBritton Language Teaching Writing Research Theory Development Discourse Field English Knowledge

Works Cited

Bernstein, Richard J. Praxis and Action. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1971.
Bloom, Harold. The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. New York: Oxford UP, 1973.
Boomer, Garth. “The Helping Hand Strikes Again.”‘ English Education 21 (Oct. 1989): 132-51.
Britton, James. “Attempting to Clarify Our Objectives for Teaching English.” English Education 18 (Oct. 1986): 153-58.
—. “English Teaching: Prospect and Retrospect.” Prospect and Retrospect 201-15.
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—. “Language and the Nature of Learning: An Individual Perspective.” The Teaching of English. Ed. James Squire. The 76th Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1977. 1-38.
—. “A Note on Teaching, Research and ‘Development.'” Prospect and Retrospect 149-52.
-. “Notes on a Working Hypothesis about Writing.” Prospect and Retrospect 123-39.
—. Prospect and Retrospect: Selected Essays of James Britton. Ed. Gordon M. Pradl. Upper Montclair: Boynton, 1982.
—. “Second Thoughts on Learning.” Language Arts 62 (Jan. 1985): 72-77.
—. “The Spectator as Theorist: A Reply.” English Education 21 (Feb. 1989): 5.)-60.
—. “Spectator Role and the Beginnings of Writing.” Prospect and Retrospect 46-67.
—. “Writing and the Story World.”‘ Exploration of Children’s Writing Development. Ed. Gordon Wells and Barry Kroll. Chichester: Wiley, 1983. 3-30.
Britton, James, Tony Burgess, Nancy Martin, Alex McLeod, and Harold Rosen. The Development of Writing Abilities (11-18). London: Macmillan, 1975.
Burke, Kenneth. “In Response to Booth: Dancing with Tears in My Eyes.” Critical Inquiry 1. 1 (Sept. 1974): 23-31.
Coles, William E. The Plural I: The Teaching of Writing. New York: Holt, 1978.
Emig, Janet. The Composing Processes of Twelfth Graders. Urbana: NCTE, 1971.
Gill, Margaret. “And Gladly Learn.”‘ Lightfoot and Martin 271-72.
Halliday, M. A. K. Explorations in the Function of Language. London: Edward Arnold, 1973.
Kinneavy, James. A Theory of Discourse. New York: Prentice, 1971.
Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 2nd ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1970.
Lightfoot, Martin, and Nancy Martin. The Word for Teaching Is Learning: Essays for James Britton. London: Heinemann, 1988.
Macrorie, Ken. Twenty Teachers. New York: Oxford UP, 1984.
Moffett, James. Teaching the Universe of Discourse. Boston: Houghton, 1968.
North, Stephen M. The Making of Knowledge in Composition: Portrait of an Emerging Field. Upper Montclair: Boynton, 1987.
Oakeshott, Michael. The Voice of Poetry in the Conversation of Mankind. London: Bowes, 1959.
Phelps, Louise Wetherbee. Composition as a Human Science. New York: Oxford UP, 1988.
Pradl, Gordon. “Learning Listening.”‘ Lightfoot and Martin 33-48.
Pringle, Ian. “Jimmy Britton and Linguistics.” Lightfoot and Martin 264-66.
Rosenblatt, Louise. Literature as Exploration. 1938. 3rd ed. New York: Barnes, 1976.
Schon, Donald A. Educating the Reflective Practitioner. San Francisco: Jossey, 1987.
Tirrell, Mary Kay. “A Study of Two Scholar/Practitioners in Composition: Developmental Themes in the Work of James Moffett and James Britton.” Diss. U of Southern California, 1988.
Tompkins, Jane. “Fighting Words: Unlearning to Write the Critical Essay.” Georgia Review 42 (Fall 1988): 585-90.
Volosinov, V. N. Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. New York: Seminar, 1973.
Vygotsky, L. S. Mind in Society. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1978.
Warnock, John. “Brittonism.” Rev. of The Development of Writing Abilities (11-18). Rhetoric Society Quarterly 9 (Winter 1979): 7-15.
Young, Richard. “Paradigms and Problems: Needed Research in Rhetorical Invention.” Research on Composing: Points of Departure. Ed. Charles R. Cooper and Lee Odell. Urbana: NCTE, 1978. 29-47.
Young, Richard, Alton Becker, and Kenneth Pike. Rhetoric: Discovery and Change. New York: Harcourt, 1970.

Raines, Helon Howell. “Is There a Writing Program in This College? Two Hundred and Thirty-Six Two-Year Schools Respond.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 151-165.


This article, based on a survey of 236 community college writing programs and eight telephone interviews of chairs of two-year college writing departments, argues that “two year schools are…as different from one another as they are alike.” The survey asked questions about the schools’ institutional structure for writing and English departments, the curriculum, the conceived purpose of writing courses, the faculty, the students, the teaching loads, and support services, such as WAC and writing centers, at the college. The challenges of teaching at two-year institutions – given its much more socially and economically diverse student population – are not often heard because two-year college writing instructors are too busy with large teaching loads and do not have the financial assistance to do research and travel to national composition conferences to share their experiences.


ccc41.2 Writing WritingProgram Colleges Schools Students Faculty Survey Questions English

Works Cited

American Association of Community and Junior Colleges. Membership Directory 1988. Ed. Jim Palmer. Washington: National Center for Higher Education, 1988.
American Association of Community and Junior Colleges Commission on the Future of Community Colleges. Building Communities: A Vision for a New Century. Washington: Center for Higher Education, 1988.
Bartholomae, David. ” Freshman English, Composition, and CCCC .” CCC 40 (February 1989); 38-50.
English in the Two-Year College. Report of a Joint Committee of the National Council of Teachers of English and the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Urbana: NCTE, 1965.
“Facts in Brief.” Higher Education and National Affairs 6 Oct. 1986: 3.
Fish, Stanley. Is There a Text in this Class? The Authority of Interpretative Communities. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1980.
Hairston, Maxine. “Breaking Our Bonds and Reaffirming Our Connections.” CCC 36 (Oct. 1985); 272-82.
Lunsford, Andrea. ” Composing Ourselves: Politics, Commitment, and the Teaching of Writing .” CCC 41 (Feb. 1990): 71-82.
National Association of College and University Business Officers. 1987 Comparative Financial Statistics. Washington; Financial Management Center, 1987.
North, Stephen M. The Making of Knowledge in Composition: Portrait of an Emerging Field. Montclair: Boynton, 1988.
Raines, Helon. “Teaching Writing in the Two-Year College.” Writing Program Administration 12.1-2 (Fall/Winter 1988): 29-37.
United States Department of Education. Center for Education Statistics. Institutional Characteristics of Colleges and Universities. Washington: Dept. of Education, 1986.

McPherson. Elisabeth. “Remembering, Regretting, and Rejoicing: The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary of the Two-Year College Regionals.” CCC 41.2 (1990): 137-150.


This article is a history and a reflection of the two-year college regional conventions, which were sponsored by NCTE and CCCC and established in 1965 for the purpose of providing professional development and recognition for the teachers of English at junior community colleges. Beginning in the 1970s, community college writing instructors, through the collective voice of the National Junior College Committee, issued statements about the training and the workload of writing teachers at community colleges. Over the past twenty-five years, two-year college writing instructors have been subject to trends and fads in writing instruction and pressure from government and corporate interests. The author insists that teachers cut through these distractions and influences and instead focus on the purpose of college writing – “helping students think more clearly” – by constantly reevaluating their courses through asking “What is this class for?”


ccc41.2 College Students Teachers NCTE CommunityColleges JuniorColleges CCCC Community Conferences Regionals Meetings

Works Cited

An Annotated List of Training Programs for Community College English Teachers: A CCCC Report. Urbana: ERIC Clearing House for Junior Colleges, 1977.
Barton, Thomas L., and Anna M. Beachner, eds. Teaching English in the Two- Year College. Menlo Park: Cummings, 1970.
English in the Two-Year College. Champaign: NCTE, 1965.
Guidelines for the Workload of the College English Teacher. Urbana: NCTE, 1987.
Research and the Development of English Programs in the Junior College. Champaign: NCTE, 1965.
Stewart, Donald C. ” What is an English Major, and What Should It Be?CCC 40 (May 1989): 188-202.
Students’ Right to Their Own Language. CCC [Special Issue] 25 (Fall 1974): 1-32.

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