Writing Assessment: Emotions, Feelings, and Teachers

Nicole Caswell


For my purposes, I approach writing assessment as more than just grading or responding to a set of student papers within a classroom context. Instead, I look at writing assessment as a complex act that links to teaching and learning, that affects the educational environment and students, that acknowledges the consequences of the assessment, and that reflects what the assessor values and how to get to that value. Beginning with an overview of emotion and feelings and moving to an overview of writing assessment as an emotional practice, this article shifts to discuss how emotions and feelings relate to writing assessment. Then, I focus on ways scholars could use emotions and feelings to further theorize writing assessment work—mostly to understand how emotions shape decisions. Through this theorizing, I hope to move away from the what teachers do during the act of assessing student writing, to the why. My aim is to provide a vehicle for getting at the emotional aspects of why.


assessment; writing; testing; affect theory; emotions; pedagogy

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