University Seminar Teaches Faculty Not to Judge ‘Quality’ of Writing When Grading

Jeremiah Poff, College Fix, January 4, 2019

Indoctrination that ‘fails to teach them how to write a coherent sentence’?

American University is hosting a seminar next month to teach faculty how to assess writing without judging its quality. In the seminar’s own words: “grading ain’t just grading.”

It’s led by Asao Inoue, a University of Washington-Tacoma professor, and the purpose is to pursue “antiracist ends” through writing assessments.


In an email, National Association of Scholars spokesperson Chance Layton said Inoue is “substituting social justice ideologues’ bigotry for instruction in composition”:

The national dominance of social justice educators such as Prof. Inoue indoctrinates college graduates nationwide into social justice ideology and bigotry–but fails to teach them how to write a coherent sentence.

Inoue’s publications on writing assessments suggest that he sees subconscious racism in standards, due to white students consistently outperforming black and Latino students.

“We must rethink how we assess writing, if we want to address the racism,” Inoue wrote in his 2015 book “Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future.”

In another paper, “A Grade-less Writing Course that Focuses on Labor and Assessing,” Inoue argues that writing teachers should “calculate course grades by labor completed and dispense almost completely with judgments of quality when producing course grades.”


Standards perpetuate ‘White language supremacy’

The Feb. 1 seminar is composed of a plenary session open to all preregistered faculty, followed by three breakout sessions to teach faculty how to change their approach to grading the writing of their students.

The plenary will be led by Inoue, {snip},

He will lecture about “language standards that just kill our students” by subjecting them to “single standards,” which perpetuate “White language supremacy … despite the better intentions of faculty.”


A breakout session on “writing intensive course rubrics,” targeted toward faculty who teach upper-division or graduate courses, will help participants rethink their course standards and how to assess and grade “most meaningfully for students.” It will explain in detail how “dimension-based rubrics” can be deployed to “acknowledge the diverse range of readers in any classroom.”


Targeted toward faculty teaching first-year courses, the session requires participants to bring a student paper or essay they’ve reviewed so they can “understand their own ways of judging student writing.”

They will learn how to engage students “with how judgements [sic] are formed and how those judgements [sic] use a set of White racial habits of language, no matter who the reader is.”

The National Association of Scholars’ Layton said that Inoue is “not an outlier” and that he “represents the mainstream of America’s college writing programs and the mainstream of social justice education, which has taken over much of higher education.”


Original Article