Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

John R. Murray

Second Advisor

Delores Gallo

Third Advisor

Curtis S. Collins, Jr.


This thesis concerns how changes in the assessment of writing mirror the historical changes in the purposes and methodologies in education. We have witnessed a dramatic shift from the viewing and testing of writing as a series of sub-skills, with emphasis on error-avoidance and correctness of form, to viewing both the process of writing and its assessment as a means of discovery, reflection, and learning. New practices in the evaluation of writing reflect knowledge of how writing occurs and how it is taught. Results of a survey conducted over two years show high school students' responses to traditional and new assessment methods. The important role writing may play in aiding students to better understand and learn school related materials is explored. The use of portfolios in writing classes can provide students with experiences they can carry outside of the English classroom. Creating a portfolio and portfolio assessment in the writing classroom are ways to nurture creative and critical thinking. Through the use of portfolios in the writing classroom, teaching, learning, and assessing can work together as a recursive whole. Portfolios can provide the authentic experience and the authentic assessment called for by today's educational theorists, writer-researchers, and classroom teachers to prepare students for the complex world waiting for them in the twenty-first century.