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Learning about writing: A consideration of the recently revised asTTle: Writing

Judy Parr and Gavin Brown

The recent revision of a national writing assessment tool, e-asTTle: Writing, is viewed from theoretical, design and implementation, and practice perspectives, and considered in relation to the original assessment concept and design. Aspects of the revision are questioned. These include a reduction in the scope and complexity of writing, with fewer functions or communicative purposes for writing included, and narrowing of the dimensions of writing. Arguably, these changes limit the diagnostic information available for teacher and student learning and, importantly, opportunities for valuable content learning about writing for teachers. Regarding design and implementation, questions relate to the necessity for statistical manipulation of teacher judgement. The increased emphasis in scoring on the more technical aspects of writing risks sending inappropriate messages to teachers and students about what is valued in quality writing and curriculum implementation.

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