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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Validity inquiry of race and shared evaluation practices in a large-scale, university-wide writing portfolio assessment

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

This article examines the intersections of students' race with the evaluation of their writing abilities in a locally-developed, context-rich, university-wide, junior-level writing portfolio assessment that relies on faculty articulation of standards and shared evaluation practices. This study employs sequential regression analysis to identify how faculty raters operationalize their definition of good writing within this university-wide writing portfolio assessment, and, in particular, whether students' race accounts for any of the variability in faculty's assessment of student writing. The findings suggest that there is a difference in student performance by race, but that student race does not contribute to faculty's assessment of students' writing in this setting. However, the findings also suggest that faculty employ a limited set of the criteria published by the writing assessment program, and faculty use non-programmatic criteria--including perceived demographic variables--in their operationalization of "good writing" in this writing portfolio assessment. This study provides a model for future validity inquiry of emerging context-rich writing assessment practices.

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