“Don’t mention the war....”: Ensuring graduates can write literate English without distorting assessment outcomes

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Quality Conversations Vol. 25

July, 2002, 794 pages
Published by
Tony Herrington
ISBN
0 908557 54 X
Abstract 

Student literacy has come to the fore in the academic arena because of changes to the demographics and goals of universities, the advent of quality assurance and a growing focus on graduate employment. Literacy is problematic as a ‘zero-order’ capability, only noticed by its absence. In assessing the academic endeavour, we want students to lose marks for not having it, rather than to gain marks for having it. This paper will explore the role of summative assessment in encouraging students to take the acquisition and demonstration of literacy skills seriously and in ensuring that students do not attain graduate status without them. It will then unpack the problems that follow from overtly assessing literacy in ways that affect final grades.

Keywords: assessment; literacy; graduate skills

“Don’t mention the war....”: Ensuring graduates can write literate English without distorting assessment outcomes

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Ritter, L.