Edited By Dagmar Knorr, Carmen Heine and Jan Engberg
Comparing and combining different approaches to the assessment of text quality
The quality of texts is an important criterion when writing processes are studied; frequently, text quality is taken as an indication of the underlying writing ability. Thus, the assessment of text quality often plays an important role when texts are produced within empirical investigations. Here, we refer to an interdisciplinary research project in which the influence of subcomponents of writing literacy (perspective taking, creation of coherence, and vocabulary) on three text types (report, instruction, argumentation) has been studied across 5th and 9th grades. We focus on four different approaches to the assessment of text quality that have been undertaken, and report on their reliability, their interrelations, and their concurrence in order to gain appropriate quantitative characteristics of text quality.
The assessment of text quality plays an important role in the diverse areas in which writing skills and the related processes receive particular attention. In classroom settings, students’ texts are typically evaluated by teachers in order to inform the individual writer (and the parents as well as the teachers themselves) about whether, or to which degree, a given writing task is successfully solved and the respective text type is mastered. On the other hand, large-scale writing assessments want to determine the level (and distribution) of skills and abilities among an entire population (of, e. g., 8th-graders or 15 years old students). This is the case within the U.S.-American National Assessment of Educational Progress program (henceforth NAEP; National Center for Educational Statistics 2012, Duncan/Betka/Kerachsky 2009); in Germany, the VERA-8 screening...
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