Isabell May

How to Support Our Student's Writing Process through Antiracist and Equity-Driven Assessment and Teaching of Writing

For the past two years, I have used an equity- and justice-driven antiracist framework for teaching and assessing writing, developed by Asao Inoue (in his Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future, 2015) and others. I have adopted this approach in a 1-credit introductory class on research and writing for master’s students in the UMB Graduate School’s Health Sciences program and in the 3-credit courses I teach in the Science Communication post-baccalaureate certificate program. This approach, often called labor- or engagement-based assessment, gives writers agency in their writing process and allows them to build confidence in exploring their voices when writing in new and unfamiliar genres. Operationally, this approach uses labor logs and reflective writing that encourage data literacy because students couldn't just submit first drafts and be done with their writing, but had to revise their work and reflect on their revision process. Students practiced meticulously documenting their own learning and taking responsibility for discovering resources for self-improvement. By tracking their writing activity in the classroom and critically reflecting on their own knowledge production, students more actively learned about literacy and viable meaning-making strategies within the classroom ecologies of writing and assessment.

In this presentation, I will share how I have integrated this equity- and justice-driven antiracist framework for teaching and assessing writing in a science communication and scientific writing context and will provide some activities where attendees can start developing a plan to use this approach in their own teaching.

After attending this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize the impact of systemic racism and inequities in traditional writing assessments and learn about how to design and implement antiracist and equity-driven assessments.
  2. Develop strategies to implement antiracist and equity-driven assessment of writing in their own classrooms.