Go Refigure: Poststructuralist Notions of Literacy and Portfolio Assessment.Report as inadecuate

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Many educators, students, parents and other taxpayers rely on the perception that literacy is some narrowly defined ideal, and that students must all conform to that ideal to become successful, (in other words) productive citizens. Sharon Crowley posits two ways of thinking about texts. In one, texts are discursive bits produced to engender more texts; they are produced to quell the desire for expression and are of worth because they reflect students' experiences and personalities. In the other, texts represent absolute values, an ideal, requiring conventions of style such as punctuation, tone and attribution. As they prepare their students for standardized tests, current-traditional teachers see student writing in the second way, as enabling students to emulate some externally mandated form of writing. Unfortunately, these practices not only discriminate against those students whose subculture does not prepare them to follow conventions of the mainstream but also breed false notions about the purposes of writing among all students. At some point, writing for students in this system ceases to have meaning; it is about filling space. An alternative to the standarized test approach would be portfolio assessments, for which students would revise a collection of their best work; it would further notions of writing aligned with Crowley's first definition. (Contains 13 references.) (TB)

Descriptors: Literacy, Portfolio Assessment, Secondary Education, Standardized Tests, Writing Evaluation, Writing Instruction, Writing Tests

Author: Bolin, Bill

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=12532&id=ED376488

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