• Grading Ain’t Just Grading:

    Rethinking Writing Assessment

    Ecologies Towards Antiracist Ends

    Asao B. Inoue
    February 1st, 2019

    This event is internal to American University faculty. Registration is required.

Schedule of Events

Plenary Session: The Language Standards That Kill Our Students: Grading Ain’t Just Grading

9:45 AM -11:00 AM
MGC 3-5

Open to all faculty who preregister

This plenary will argue against the use of conventional standards in college courses that grade student writing by single standards. Inoue will discuss the ways that White language supremacy is perpetuated in college classrooms despite the better intentions of faculty, particularly through the practices of grading writing.

Breakout Session: Creating Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies in Writing Courses

11:20AM – 12:35PM
MGC 3-5

(Note: We believe this workshop will be most helpful to Writing Studies faculty, but others are also invited to sign up.)

This interactive workshop will focus on redesigning writing courses’ assessment ecologies in ways that reduce the negative effects of a single standard of writing used in conventional grading practices. It will offer an alternative to such grading practices, labor-based grading contracts, and a comprehensive theory of assessment that may lead participants to other ways of redesigning their courses’ assessments.

Breakout Session: Rethinking Standards of Writing Intensive Course Rubrics

2:30PM – 3:45PM
Butler Board Room

(Note: We believe this workshop will be most helpful to faculty teaching or preparing to teach upper division or graduate courses, including the AU Core’s DIV and W2 courses, but others are also invited to sign up.)

This workshop will engage participants in rethinking what standards for writing in their courses could be and how those standards can be assessed and graded most meaningfully for students. It will offer a brief account of two antiracist writing assessment practices, and consider one more carefully, dimension-based rubrics for writing assignments. When used in particular ways, this rubric can be a way to acknowledge the diverse range of readers in any classroom. It also can resist the negative effects of grading by a single standard that most conventional rubrics and scoring guides embody.

Breakout Session: Problem-Posing the Nature of Judgement in Writing Intensive Courses

4:05PM – 5:20PM
Butler Board Room

(Note: We believe this workshop will be most helpful to faculty teaching first year experience courses, including he AU Core’s Complex Problems and AUx1/AUx2 courses, but others are also invited to sign up.)

This workshop will engage participants in an activity that can be done with students in classrooms, but will be done with the participants in the workshop. The practice is based on Paulo Freire’s “problem-posing” practice, and engages students with how judgements are formed and how those judgements use a set of White racial habits of language, no matter who the reader is. Participants must bring one paper/essay that they’ve commented on, graded, and/or provided written feedback on. They will NOT share these student samples anyone in the workshop, but use them in the activity to understand their own ways of judging student writing.


Asao B. Inoue

Asao B. Inoue is Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, Director of University Writing and the Writing Center, and the 2019 Conference on College Composition and Communication Chair at the University of Washington, Tacoma. He has been a past member of the CCCC Executive Committee, and the Executive Board of the Council of Writing Program Administrators. Among his many articles and chapters on writing assessment, race, and racism, his article, “Theorizing Failure in U.S. Writing Assessments” in Research in the Teaching of English, won the 2014 CWPA Outstanding Scholarship Award. His co-edited collection, Race and Writing Assessment (2012), won the 2014 NCTE/CCCC Outstanding Book Award for an edited collection. His book, Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing for a Socially Just Future (2015) won the 2017 NCTE/CCCC Outstanding Book Award for a monograph and the 2015 CWPA Outstanding Book Award. In November of 2016, he guested co-edited a special issue of College English on writing assessment as social justice. His most recent co-edited collection is Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and The Advancement of Opportunity (2018). Additionally, his newest book, Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Building Equity and Inclusion in the Compassionate Writing Classroom is in review.