Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future
Asao B. Inoue, University of Washington Tacoma
Copyright Year: 2015
ISBN 13: 9781602357747
Publisher: WAC Clearinghouse
Conditions of Use
The title shows the focused, targeted scope of this book. However, Inoue’s argument is contextualized within a broad spectrum of rhet/comp theory and integrations from other disciplines. It is a book about the racial politics that Inoue perceives... read more
The title shows the focused, targeted scope of this book. However, Inoue’s argument is contextualized within a broad spectrum of rhet/comp theory and integrations from other disciplines. It is a book about the racial politics that Inoue perceives in writing classrooms, but his examples are drawn exclusively from his own experiences. The introduction and first three chapters are rich in foundational scaffolding as Inoue posits that teaching writing is essentially a racist activity anchored in what he labels “white racial habitus.” Inoue references not only established rhet/comp scholars including Peter Elbow, Victor Villanueva, Kenneth Burke, Paulo Freire, and many others, but also Shakespeare, Antonio Gramsci, Michael Omi, Howard Winant, Sigmund Freud, and a diverse assortment of figures from interesting disciplines that he connects to his writing assessment ecologies. Whether or not we agree with his assertion about “white racial habitus” dominating the teaching of writing, we have to acknowledge that he makes a compelling case for the way racism can creep into writing classrooms, especially in decisions about assessment. A glossary of terms and names would have been extremely helpful. And there is no index. In a book like this one, where the author is building a case for a position that resists the status quo, having ready access to names and ideas he integrates would have made the reading experience much more accessible. While this would be a fine book to include in graduate classes, students would have to do quite a bit of supplementary, supporting reading to fully comprehend Inoue’s discussion. The list of References would be an excellent resource for graduate students exploring the pillars of rhetoric and composition studies.
Given Inoue’s starting premises that writing classrooms support racism, that writing assessment harms students, and that social justice and equity are not promoted in writing classrooms, I have to say that this is a very biased book. There is never a consideration that some classrooms, some writing instructors might in fact actually be promoting social justice and equity and fair assessment practices in their classrooms. This failure to acknowledge the good work being done by instructors in college classrooms all over the U.S. creates an obstacle to easy acceptance of Inoue’s fundamental claims about racism. To the extent that Inoue’s ideas are shaped by his own experiences as a child, we have to say the content of the book is “accurate” since his view of teaching and assessing writing is founded on the unfairness he felt he experienced socially and academically. Regardless of whether the book is unbiased or fair, it definitely engages you as a reader because you are constantly stopping to fully consider Inoue’s accusatory comments. Yes, his tone seems consistently accusatory and absolute with no consideration of other views. Take for example, his assertion in Chapter 4 that “[students] get no say in grading.” I suspect that most college writing instructors would vehemently disagree with that statement. Nonetheless, because of his passion in his fight for equity and grading justice, we are compelled to read carefully, attentively, and even respectfully. In other words, while the tone seems biased and terribly one-sided, he makes us think, he makes us want to change what we are doing to make sure we are creating antiracist writing classroom ecologies.
Inoue’s ideas about labor-based contract grading have been embraced by the rhet/comp community, so this foundational book will stay relevant as a platform for continued discussions. Since he is a prolific scholar, the “updates” and expansions are readily available in Inoue’s newer publications and presentations.
The introduction and chapters 1-3 are extremely dense not because they are badly written but because the amount of supporting information Inoue draws on is overwhelming and at times seems like deep background. Thus, the writing cannot be described as “lucid.” Some context is provided for terms and concepts, but full understanding, especially when he draws on ideas from far outside rhet/comp, calls for stopping in mid chapter to look up his references so as to fully comprehend his arguments. Of course, this enriches our individual knowledge of the issues, but it’s also frustrating to feel lost in Inoue’s discussion and to have to read and reread to ensure that no relevant point has been missed. And, since there is no index or glossary, previous references to the topics or individuals mentioned cannot be checked in the text.
This is a book centered on the idea that “white racial habitus” pervades and persists in writing classrooms. It is the starting assertion in the book and it is the core of every chapter. And from the opening pages, there is the expectation that after all the premises are laid out, there will be an illustration of what an antiracist writing assessment ecology looks like. While Chapter 4 (which is over 100 pages long) provides anecdotal evidence from Inoue’s classrooms, there is never a full syllabus to illuminate the framework for a class built on antiracist writing assessment ecologies.
This is a highly self-referential text with Inoue constantly citing his previous work (citations of his previous works take up a full page of the References). His citation of a vast assortment of other scholars is impressive, prompting readers to interrupt their reading to look up cited articles and books. Chapter 4 where he finally explains what a writing assessment ecology of writing might look like in a classroom is over 100 pages long, which is about one third of the content of the book. If this book were to be assigned in a class, it would be a good idea to start with Chapter 5, where Inoue clearly explains how he came to feel that his writing didn’t matter (based on how his teachers focused on errors in his writing). Inoue’s personal story informs his “white racial habitus” mindset about writing classrooms, and it offers important context for the Introduction and then Chapters 1-3. While there are level 1 subheadings in the chapters, level 2 and level 3 headings would have made this a much more modularly accessible text.
Chapter 5 should be the Introduction. The current Introduction and Chapters 1-3 offer a compelling argument about what Inoue perceives to be “white racial habitus” in writing classrooms. Compelling but not necessarily persuasive. Overall, there is clarity as the Introduction and Chapter 1-3 set up definitions, premises, and conclusions, and Chapters 4 provides some illustration of what Inoue considers an antiracist writing assessment ecology. A notable missing feature of this book is a full syllabus that would have enabled instructors and students to see how such a class could be set up. There should have been an Appendix C with a full, sample syllabus.
This is a straightforward, ordinary text. There are a few figures to enhance the discussion, including one example of student work that includes highlighting and an inset shaded box. The full PDF download from Open Textbook does not allow highlighting, and that, in my opinion, limits usability. The ebook chapter-by-chapter download allows highlighting and comments, but, if you like moving back and forth as you read perhaps to check earlier references to a topic or name and to reinforce understanding of ideas, you are limited to the single chapter you’ve downloaded.
This is arguable. Inoue clearly enjoys playing with language and there are some nuanced syntactic and semantic structures. A lot of sentences require repeated readings because of the interesting syntax, which occasionally drifts into questionable constructions, as if the sentence derailed at some point and was not ever revised.
I think that some white readers would find Inoue’s theory of “white racial habitus” offensive. He is unapologetic about his stance, asserting that writing classrooms are racist because they promote dominant discourses and ideologies. The chapters, however, do make us think about our own classrooms, critically and reflectively. Inoue’s “evidence” for his theory is his experience in teaching at Fresno State, and his examples integrate voices from Hmong, Latino, Asian, African-American, and white students. Additionally, he asserts that white students who are used to being “at the top of the grading pyramid” tend not to like the labor-based contract grading approach. So, there is notable racial insensitivity, but as Inoue points out repeatedly, there needs to be resistance to the hegemony that, in his opinion, pervades classrooms.
Every college writing instructor should read this book, slowly, reflectively, with an eye toward changing what we do in the classroom. It is far more a book about holistic pedagogy than a book about writing assessment. The explanation of how classrooms are ecological systems can truly make one think about what we do in our classroom. The discussion of the seven elements of classroom assessment ecologies—power, parts, purpose, people, processes, products, places—contextualizes pedagogy into an integrated whole. These principles are shown in lucid diagram form on p. 176 of the book, a diagram that perhaps should be featured earlier in the book as a reference point. Reading this book, even if you don’t buy into the labor-based contract approach, will change how you teach. In a graduate class, this book would be a great anchor text, but it would have to be balanced with other works that present comprehensive aspects of assessment and teaching and social justice. Nonetheless, this is a compelling, highly engaging book. I’ve read it several times and each time brings new discoveries, new ways of thinking about teaching.
This is a good book for a graduate class focused either on pedagogy or on social justice. It is too complex for most undergraduate classes; however, Chapter 5, which is narrative in tone and structure, can be used as a launching point for discussions of students' own experiences with racism or perceived unfair assessment of their writing.
This text explicitly connects theory to practice. read more
This text explicitly connects theory to practice.
While the author draws on their own experiences and cultural identities, there is always a connection back to research. The author consistently calls on educators and students to use reflective practices, which helps to promote critical change in our thinking and our teaching. The author anticipates push back on the conception that racism exists in writing assessment and provides credible counterarguments.
The author provides practical assessment ideas for teachers in helping their students think critically about whiteness and language diversity.
Inoue also shares their own stories of teaching through an antiracist lens, which is very helpful for reconceptualizing how I teach in higher education myself.
The inclusion of rubric and contract grading exemplars are also very useful.
The writing can be quite dense, but the use of headers helps clarify main points in each chapter.
The writing is accessible while still being strongly research-based. For instance, the author provides guiding questions for each chapter, such as: How might we define race and understand its function in classroom writing assessments so that we can articulate antiracist writing assessments?
Concepts related to antiracist assessment build on each other through each chapter. The concept of community-based pedagogy is a consistent theme, which creates a broader understanding of methods for promoting antiracist practices in education.
Each chapter is written consistently and could be read as an independent piece of writing.
The online format is easy to navigate.
Writing is very academic.
There is a strong focus on culture and race in this text, and there are connections to prior research, Buddhist, and relational pedagogies that promote cultural diversity and inclusion.
Inoue calls on teachers to use assessment ecologies that "(re)create places for sustainable learning and living" (p. 14). While the text is not as accessible for pre-service teachers as I had hoped, it can still be utilized to help educators consider methods and mindsets that promote equitable assessment practices.
This textbook should be required reading for all professors who assess the writing of students. It more than covers the ways in which assessment can be skewed and viewed from a very narrow perspective creating discrimination of a student’s writing... read more
This textbook should be required reading for all professors who assess the writing of students. It more than covers the ways in which assessment can be skewed and viewed from a very narrow perspective creating discrimination of a student’s writing skills and content.
The text is very accurate as to what it claims to contain. It is explicit, well reasoned and an easy read.
I believe this topic is very relevant to our educational environment today. I also believe one can see how the current SATs and ACT‘s are being re-examined in college admissions processes.
The writer writes with clarity and the book is self-explanatory and not difficult to read.
The messages in the book are consistent. The author allows his thoughts to flow clearly in the reader is able to follow along with the thought process.
Is textbook would be amenable to a professor assigning chunks of the book, or sections of the book to students throughout the semester.
The text is well organized and flows very well.
The text has no interface issues.
The text has one grammatical error that I saw.
This text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in anyway. The author uses clear examples of race and its impact in writing assessment.
I thought this was a great book, very insightful, thought-provoking, well reasoned and crucial for educators wanting to assess how their actions in grading could negatively impact students.
Inoue's text is well organized and framed nicely by an introduction that explains the contextual framework for the book, specifies who his primary audience is (graduate students, composition instructors, and writing program administrators),... read more
Inoue's text is well organized and framed nicely by an introduction that explains the contextual framework for the book, specifies who his primary audience is (graduate students, composition instructors, and writing program administrators), provides an authentic explanation of his own subjective position as an instructor of writing, and ends with an overview of the book's organizing structure and goals. The chapters that follow keep to the outline he provides, and each build on one another in logical ways. While the text doesn't have an index or glossary, Inoue does offer an extensive section for his notes as well as two appendices that provide readers with models for two important tools for composition instructors to consider (and use) when designing antiracist composition curricula and assessments: a grading contract and a sample "Problem Posing" exercise in which students are asked to reflect on their process of evaluating the writing of their peers.
This text is driven by the argument that racism is still inherent in composition pedagogy and assessment and for that reason, which might imply Inoue's work cannot be seen as "unbiased." Yet, the goal of the text is to engage readers with difficult conversations about race in the classroom, and Inoue makes clear that his critique on antiracist writing assessment is not meant to pinpoint blame on specific individuals and/or instructors. He returns to this point throughout the book, which serves as an effective reminder to his audience that instructors of writing should acknowledge their various subjectivities when considering the roots of their pedagogy. Inoue’s strategy of reminding the audience that he is not placing blame helps combat a potential misunderstanding and defensiveness in his readers. As Inoue notes that the majority of composition instructors are “white, middle class, and female” he also discusses that though individual instructors are not necessarily racist, they play “a part [in] systemic racism, a structural racism in school and society that we don’t control, and may not even be fully aware of” (30-31).
Issues of racial and cultural inequity in education are always relevant, and given the focus that's been placed on Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the past year or so, Inoue's text is even more timely. By pointing out the hidden ways that race has played a role in our teaching, he helps to underscore why CRT is such an important framework for understanding schools, teaching, and assessment.
Given that he clearly acknowledges his specific audience of the book in the introduction, the language, terminology, and theoretical lenses used are suitable for his readers and written is such a way to be easily accessible for readers with only a scant background in critical theory.
Inoue’s guiding framework builds on the idea that composition instructors need to reflect upon their ecologies and consider how to integrate more inclusive ecologies into the classroom. To that end, he has organized his book so that each chapter builds on the next. To begin, he efficiently breaks down ecologies, first defining the role of race in writing assessments. Then he begins to provide examples of theorized antiracist writing assessment ecologies that integrate elements of “Marxian political theory,” “Freirean critical pedagogy,” and “Buddhist rhetoric” (77). He eventually provides example of how he integrates antiracist writing assessment ecologies in his own classroom by creating contractual assessments between himself and his students and uses the last chapter to dive into how instructors can design their own antiracist ecologies. Essentially, each chapter helps instructors further their understanding of what antiracist writing assessment is and how to implement it in the classroom.
Although I would likely have graduate students read this all at once (within a two or three week time frame), I can see how these chapters could serve as stand-alone articles (especially the first two) and/or be paired with similar texts throughout a longer graduate seminar.
As stated earlier, the introduction explains the books' organizing structure, and his chapters uphold what he promises readers from the start.
This is an easy text to access and read with no issues or noticeable glitches in terms of navigation of the material.
There are no issues with grammar or basic conventions of writing. Text is easily readable and engaging.
Although I would argue that there is nothing offensive about this text, I'm sure that someone might find otherwise given the socially pertinent topics being addressed throughout.
Overall, I think this is a valuable text and it has helped me to reconsider some of my beliefs about writing assessment and given me new tools to reframe my courses and approach. However, I believe that some of his suggestions to be difficult to execute, especially when considering that he maintains his primary audience is (at least in part) instructors of multi-level composition courses. For instance, in Chapter 4, Inoue breaks down his own assessment ecology where he uses a grading contract “to understand the class as a burgeoning antiracist writing assessment ecology” (177). He leaves room for negotiations, dedicating time mid-way into the semester for students to voice their concerns and/or provide critiques on the grading system (191). In his ecology, Inoue looks specifically at the labors of the students rather than the quality of the writing (187). He provides a chart that goes over the grading system in lass, and at first glance, both the “A” and “B” grade category have the same requirements. Inoue states that in order for a student to receive an “A,” then the student’s works needs to be “twice the length and depth as the students’ peers who are shooting for a ‘B’” (Inoue 188). Though I like Inoue’s idea of providing an assessment contract, I believe his description of “A” vs. “B” is weak and impractical, especially when considering freshmen-level composition courses. From my experience teaching new writers (mostly freshman but not always) students across different racial and cultural backgrounds generally desire course and assessment structure to be straightforward. While I can see Inoue’s ecology working in higher-level English courses, I don’t believe it is as universal as he portrays this ecology to be. I think if Inoue would have provided more information about his specific students it would have strengthened his points throughout Chapter 4. Since he did not, my final assessment makes me believe that Inoue’s ideas of having a contract-based assessment is interesting but perhaps not always practical. Still, overall, the book does address what it said it would address; having instructors reflect upon their own ecologies and consider other, more inclusive ecologies. Even my small quibble with of Inoue’s contract-based assessment has compelled me to consider how to integrate different ecologies into my composition courses and to think deeply about the ties between assessment and racism. And ultimately, this is essentially what he wanted his book to do.
Drawing from antiracist and social justice theories and concepts, Dr. Inoue provides a critical and comprehensive argument for building antiracist writing assessment ecologies. Geared towards college writing instructors, the book starts with a... read more
Drawing from antiracist and social justice theories and concepts, Dr. Inoue provides a critical and comprehensive argument for building antiracist writing assessment ecologies. Geared towards college writing instructors, the book starts with a foundation about how structural racism is embedded in writing classrooms and then moves into how readers can intervene with specific examples included in the appendix.
The book does not contain any inaccuracies. Dr. Inoue very clearly states his positionality, more specifically his antiracist agenda, and the intended audience.
The content is quite timely. I am writing this review in 2021. I also think the book's relevance extends beyond the intended audience. I am not a college writing instructor. I read this book because I work with graduate-level students (M.A. and Ph.D) and we use a lot of writing assignments in our program. It gave me a lot to think about, particularly with regards to the use of theses and dissertations in our program.
Very well-written book and easy to read. Dr. Inoue covers complex issues in a way that is accessible; he uses some jargon and technical terminology but not in a way that obfuscates the purpose of his work.
Dr. Inoue consistently frames his work as part of a larger antiracist project and consistently uses terminology and frameworks in line with antiracist and social justice theories and concepts.
Each chapter could be read on its own, with the first few chapters serving as the foundation for the rest of the book. The book is readily divisible into small reading sections by chapter.
The PDF version did not have any interface issues. Did not use the ebook.
No major grammatical or spelling errors.
Dr. Inoue's book is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way and references a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.
I highly recommend this book! While geared to college writing instructors, I found it to also be useful for thinking about how we prepare graduate students for lengthy thesis and dissertation projects.
Inoue has clearly done his homework and has demonstrated synthesis among researchers of writing centers, composition, linguistics, assessment, and other fields. He sets up arguments made by other scholars and proceeds to explain why their points... read more
Inoue has clearly done his homework and has demonstrated synthesis among researchers of writing centers, composition, linguistics, assessment, and other fields. He sets up arguments made by other scholars and proceeds to explain why their points are inadequate, presenting an alternative antiracist perspective. In later chapters, Inoue details precisely and in great detail how he enacts antiracism in his own writing classroom, foregrounding his praxis in the theoretical context quite explicitly.
The content examines the biases inherent in writing assessment and how to shift writing instruction away from a white middle-class habitus. The author acknowledges how his own views as an Asian American were formed through his experiences in and out of school and how his practices teaching college writing have upheld and challenged the biases endemic to academic writing instruction. Thus, it’s not possible to rate accuracy and bias here, as lived experiences are literally the premise of the book. Regarding how it represents previous scholarship, I can only speak to my own training in sociolinguistics. To that end, I would say Inoue gets it right, but uses some problematic or outdated terminology like ‘BEV’ and ‘ghetto’; if these are terms he truly wishes to use, they should have some contextual explication.
The author is a writing professor at Fresno State and his experiences there feature heavily. This is not to say that many of the points presented are not more widely applicable. Statistics are cited which will become dated after some years, but those can be updated. If the last couple of years are any indication, a considerable amount of literature on antiracist teaching is forthcoming, which may prompt Inoue to incorporate these new insights.
The text is clear. The author walks the fine line of writing about accessibility in writing while himself writing in a canonical academic register for others at a similar level of education. In so doing, he proves his point of the capacity of poor students of color to excel at writing for a highly educated audience, but he also refutes his own point by writing in a style that is strongly associated with white, middle- and upper-class practices.
The text is terminologically consistent. I found the framework surprising – this is not a textbook, as I had expected, nor is it similar in presentation to any teacher guide or resource book I’ve encountered. Inoue (p.3) suggests that his main audience is writing teachers and writing program administrators writ large who are interested in antiracist writing practices. The book begins with what I can call an extended dialogue with theorists in a range of areas and finishes with a reflection on one of his own classes’ experience with his antiracist instructional methods.
The text is definitely not readily divisible – there are five chapters ranging from 18 pages to over 100. There are subheadings, but they are not “chunkable” over a semester. I would be likely to use it as a supplemental or recommended text for students of literacy and writing education, but probably not in its entirety.
Topics flowed logically, though there was a fair degree of repetition.
Interface is fine.
There were a few grammatical and typographical errors but nothing that impeded understanding.
The book was entirely about cultural relevance, so bases are covered that way. The multicultural context here was particular to Inoue’s student population but the ideas could be applied to readers’ contexts.
I appreciated the honest reflection on how the course was executed and that the author let the students’ voices shine. Lots of great quotes and considerations for the reader to sit with. I’m inspired to do more interdisciplinary reading in addition to self-questioning.
Inoue provides an extremely comprehensive account as to how race is a factor in writing assessments, what they call “writing assessment ecologies” (which, to my delight, draws from critical pedagogues such as Paulo Freire and Buddhist theories of... read more
Inoue provides an extremely comprehensive account as to how race is a factor in writing assessments, what they call “writing assessment ecologies” (which, to my delight, draws from critical pedagogues such as Paulo Freire and Buddhist theories of interconnection), recognizing the elements of antiracist writing assessment ecologies, and designing and conducting antiracist assessment ecologies. The text includes an index, notes, references, and appendixes.
The author is clear in defining their audience (instructors who use writing in their assessment) and the scope of the book (racism as a structural and institutional dynamic rather than a personal one). An easy critique of the book could be an intersectional one (such as why race over gender/nationality/sexual orientation). Inoue answers this handily in their intro by noting their conception of race as a localized function that includes other facets of identity.
This book read at a fairly high reading level, but one appropriate for its audience of college-level instructors rather than a book intended for undergraduate student use. For an instructor who desires to be antiracist in the classroom, this is an essential text.
I found the author’s voice to be quite inviting and easy to understand. I appreciated the bulleted structures used occasionally (such as in Chapter five, where Inoue offers a set of questions, with explanations, on how to design an antiracist writing assessment ecology).
The author built each chapter in concert and conversation with the previous chapters, effectively building on previously-introduced terminologies and concepts.
The text’s organization flows well from theoretical framing to practical examples. The table of contents is helpful, particularly in PDF form, because the reader can skip to a chapter by clicking on the heading. I found the author’s use of tables and illustrations an effective and multimodal learning experience. Inoue provided clear examples from their own teaching, complete with rubrics that supported and contextualized the more theoretical facet of the text.
As previously mentioned, the text flowed very smoothly from setting out a theoretical and social framework to how to conduct antiracist writing assessments, complete with rich examples along the way.
The table of contents makes the text easy to navigate. All images appear clear.
I did not catch any grammatical errors.
By nature of the material, I would expect the text to include inclusive examples and it does not disappoint, drawing examples from various classroom contexts and demographics.
This book had more information than I expected. read more
This book had more information than I expected.
In my opinion, this book was unbiased, as it takes the perspective that we should be intentional and careful to avoid doing harm through unintentional racism. The author presents several theories to help explain why and how institutional racism exists in current writing assessments and how to alleviate the probles.
These issues do not appear to be going anywhere soon.
Some of it might have been a little overly-written. Since it is an online source, maybe more tables or bullet points or something to simplify the reading might be beneficial to the modern reader.
Again, the information was too theoretical in places with various perspectives presented.
I think that the book needs to be read as a whole. I say this due to the thought that many of these ideas can be difficult to accept if it is a person's first time seeing them. It could take some time for people to digest. Concepts like White privilege are often rejected by people who later realize that the concept has much merit when examined objectively.
It seemed well organized.
I observed no problems.
It was well written.
This book is about culture, and I think it dealt with issues in a fair manner.
The textbook offers answers and ideas for everything I could think of and more. Information was easy to find. read more
The textbook offers answers and ideas for everything I could think of and more. Information was easy to find.
I've read quite a lot in the history of racism and am watching in alarm at the rise of white supremacy in this country. I've also studied and used contemplative teaching. The book echoes and reinforces what I have learned in previous research and reading and supports my antiracism efforts in the classroom.
This topic of creating anti-racist classrooms and teaching students to be aware of cultural differences without judgment has not been studied until recently--maybe twenty-five years if my reading has been correct. The book will be a foundational text in this topic and an early example of contemplative pedagogy that readers can benefit from and build on into the future.
While bringing up complex and difficult topics, the book explains concisely how the theory and practice of anti-racist education has arisen. The author provides room for readers who might be resistant to the topic to open themselves to the ideas. She acknowledges that it is hard for many to discuss racial privilege. The writing is lucid and elegant.
The book is structured in a logical fashion
The textbook is divided into chapters with individual divisions and chunks of important discussion that can be mixed throughout the course or offered as separate chapters even if the whole text is not assigned.
I found that this textbook unfolds with a strong and reasonable presentation of theoretical underpinnings, discussion of practice, and activities and other material that can be modified to fit the journalism and communication courses I teach. While I don't know if I would assign the reading to a beginning academic composition class, I will use the ideas for my summer and fall courses in freshman and sophomore writing.
I had no trouble connecting to various topics within the text links. The text was clear and lucid both in writing and style and electronic presentation.
No problems here. The writing is crisp with an engaging voice and style.
This question prompts a kneejerk response for me! One has only to look at instances of increased violence to minority groups, white supremacist speech in political rallies and advertisements, on Fox news--which is the most popular channel in the country--and at the doublethink encouraged even by public servants and the U.S. President makes a book like this indispensible.
I'm very happy to have this resource (and at a reasonable cost :).
This text provided an outstanding framework for educators to incorporate anti-racist writing activities in the classroom. This can be a great tool to assess classroom climate and to challenge student worldviews. read more
This text provided an outstanding framework for educators to incorporate anti-racist writing activities in the classroom. This can be a great tool to assess classroom climate and to challenge student worldviews.
The content was accurate, relevant, and timely. A great tool to use in our classrooms!
In our current socio-political climate, a text like "Antiracist Writing Assessment Eulogies," can be valuable to provide a context for classrooms to examine racism and discrimination. This information is grounded in solid pedagogy and consistent with higher education practices of accountability.
The authors developed a well-written and comprehensive text with excellent ideas for a college process.
This text is consistent with advocacy and social justice initiatives. It allows for individuals to use the content in various classrooms and to challenge critical thinking.
This is an easy read.
The text is well-organized and easy to follow.
No issues noted.
This is a well-written text.
This text is culturally sensitive and inclusive.
I really enjoyed reading this text and will recommend it to colleagues. What a valuable resource in our current era to promote learning!
I found the book to be more comprehensive in it's review of the relevant literature. read more
I found the book to be more comprehensive in it's review of the relevant literature.
I'm not a writing expert, but there is a bias, a perhaps useful one, in this material.
There a a number of very old (1970's, 80's ) and older materials cited. This does not mean that they are inaccurate but I did wonder, especially since the use of mobile devices has changed educational access, if more recent studies had been done and should be included. Perhaps the book needs to be updated?
I had a hard time with clarity. It may be that I simply have little expertise in the area of teaching student to write and therefore need to work on my own knowledge, but often the way concepts were expressed was confusing for me. I'd certainly not ask my students to read this book.
Really consistent across the entire work. The author has planned well and executed even better in terms of vocabulary, structure and flow.
This text heavily depends on the learning that takes place in the initial chapters for understanding the latter ones. It is really necessary to read the entire work, start to finish, for understanding to occur.
Typical chapter type organization. It would have been helpful if each chapter had begun with context and "what to learn from this hcapter" type information.
Not really and interfacing going on.
No grammar errors that I saw.
No particular insensitivity but certainly could have included examples from a wider range of student interactions.
I found this a difficult read , but did come away with several ideas I'll try in my classroom.
The text covers a very important aspect--designing assignments that bring equity in the classroom. Different students, such as first generation students, students of color, international students--all come with different experiences. A writing... read more
The text covers a very important aspect--designing assignments that bring equity in the classroom. Different students, such as first generation students, students of color, international students--all come with different experiences. A writing instructor must pay attention to these experiences. The writer talks not only about different pedagogy but also relates to history and explains why such pedagogy is needed. He gives examples of what as writing instructors we shouldn’t do. He also uses Freirean critical pedagogy, Buddhist theories of interconnection, and Marxian political theory to talk about classroom writing assignment “ecology.” This book contributes to the knowledge of those educators who see their classroom and their pedagogy inclusive of social justice issues.
The content is accurate. As a postcolonial feminist scholar whose research encompasses race and intersectionality, I don’t see why a text has to be considered biased. There is a lot of tension in the classroom these days and if a writing instructor is well versed in Freirean theory, then the whole class benefits. It is important to understand the power structure that often defines success in higher education; it is also important for the instructor to be aware of what power structure he/she/they/Z bring into the classroom. As educators we have to negotiate that structure only when it becomes barrier to an inclusive education. This book makes us aware of those vulnerable situations.
The book is relevant and lasting. Chapter 4 is a great example of how relevant this text is in terms of teaching a diverse set of students. The book is written is such a way that if the writer wishes, he can always rewrite the pedagogy chapter with updated teaching experiences.
This book is definitely for senior graduate students and faculty. Yet, an administrative personnel (such as the Chief Diversity Officer, Dean of Students) may find it helpful. It would be very helpful for graduate students who are in their final year of teaching and who are in the job market. For someone like me, the text is more lucid than many I have read. A text like this cannot provide context for every little term that the writer uses. So, this is a text for more mature readers, yet anyone can benefit from it--they will gain new knowledge about how race plays out in the classroom.
Inoue consistently uses terms that are important for the readers to understand his theory and the pedagogy he introduces. He repeats in places so that his readers are able to follow him throughout the chapters.
The book is well organized and easy to follow. The book could be broken into smaller parts and used to teach student and new faculty how to create effective and inclusive assignments and assessment.
Inoue first creates a big picture of how often in institutions we fail to recognize that race matters when it comes to assessments of student writing. Then he discusses the relevant theories, how they relate to his concept of an anti-racist writing pedagogy, and then he ends with the description of his own class. He concludes the book with a beautiful anecdote that speaks to writing teachers--after all, our responsibility is to create humane writers who are critical thinkers and not mechanical ones.
I didn’t face any navigating problems, the charts and the diagrams were clearly displayed. I used the pdf file. There was no distraction.
I didn’t see any grammatical errors.
Inoue writes that his purpose is to “construct ecologies that work as sustainable, livable, fair ecologies that address racism by not avoiding it in the language we write or speak.” While talking about power structures he not only discusses and defines the white dominant discourse prevalent in many classrooms and classroom instruction, but also focuses on different cultural groups and how each grouplearn. He uses various critics in the field (i.e. Asian scholars while talking about Asian students) to explain the situation that the student may be going through.
I have already recommended this book to my reading/writing center for the senior fellows. This book should be used as a handbook in a school which has graduate students as tutors in the writing center. This book will definitely be my companion when I teach my First Year Inquiry classes.
Inoue delivers a clear and well-pointed critique of the racist implications of established college-level writing assessments setting up the need for antiracist assessment practices. He gives an in-depth rationale for his own anti-racist assessment... read more
Inoue delivers a clear and well-pointed critique of the racist implications of established college-level writing assessments setting up the need for antiracist assessment practices. He gives an in-depth rationale for his own anti-racist assessment practices that assess students based on their labor rather than how well their products approximate academic standards based on white middle and upper class norms. He goes on to describe how such practices have played out in his own courses. Inoue ends with a series of questions that any writing instructor or writing program administrator concerned with disrupting racist writing assessment practices would do well to consider.
The book is well researched. The works Inoue critiques are represented fairly.
This book is extremely relevant to its target audience, those who teach writing and administer writing programs at the college level. The pervasive nature of inequality in writing assessments and the inherent nature of racism in the US mean that, unfortunately, this book should remain relevant for a long time.
Inoue tackles complex material in a clear and systematic way. The content is ordered and divided in a way that aids in understanding.
Inoue is careful with his terms and explanations and is consistent throughout the text. Inoue lays out a clear theoretical framework and proceeds methodically in his descriptions.
Several chapters in this book would stand alone fairly well. The introduction and first chapter lay bare the racist nature of the dominant writing assessment practices, no matter how well intentioned they may be. The fifth chapter offers a useful set of considerations for one to construct their own antiracist writing assessment ecology.
The book is logically organized and flows well.
The books interface is appropriate to the content and purpose.
The text is relatively free of any grammatical issues.
This text is extremely culturally relevant. Inoue details the harmful effects most writing assessment practices have on students of color and offers a way out.
Inoue goes to great lengths to describe the ecology of a writing course and is quite thorough. However, given the focus on labor and Inoue’s discussion of Marx, I was surprised that the tenuous working conditions of many college writing instructors was not addressed. I realize that the book must have boundaries and cannot cover everything, but I would have enjoyed hearing more about how the instructor’s labor fits into Inoue’s writing assessment ecology.
In this text, Inoue offers an incredibly comprehensive view of a subject about an area that deserves more intentional attention: antiracist writing assessment ecologies. After clearly laying out some complex issues raised within critical... read more
In this text, Inoue offers an incredibly comprehensive view of a subject about an area that deserves more intentional attention: antiracist writing assessment ecologies. After clearly laying out some complex issues raised within critical theories (such as Freire’s emancipatory frameworks, Gramsci’s theory of hegemony, and Marxian political theory) in a comprehensible orientation for newcomers to these theories, Inoue then provides specific suggestions and considerations for classroom practice that moves toward antiracist writing assessment ecologies. The text includes two appendices, one which shows the author’s grading contract (one strategy, building on the work of Danielewicz and Elbow, 2009) for antiracist writing assessment the author mentions in the text) from his own college composition course at Fresno State; the second includes a sample reflection letter for problem-posing labor processes.
This text thoroughly addresses the basic premises underlying antiracist writing assessment ecologies. Inoue clearly defines differences between race and racism, as well as differing forms of racism and power/equity (such as assumptions of Standardized Edited American English [SEAE] and a white racial habitus) that need to be addressed before pursuing the work of creating antiracist assessments. Furthermore, Inoue clearly analyzes writing assessment data from his institution on the EPT to support his argument that this work is necessary.
On a scale from 1-5, this text deserves a 10 in this category. With this work, Inoue fills a significant void in the field of educational assessment that needs to drive discourse and teaching practice for years to come. Traditional writing assessment relies upon sameness and standardization, which, Inoue explains, are foundationally racist principles due to the artificial assumption of shared mainstream norms; this text offers ways to reconsider such practices to focus more on students’ labor as writers instead. While Inoue frames this text from his experience as a college writing professor, as a current teacher educator and former public school educator myself, I see direct applications of the issues raised in this text across all educational contexts.
Despite the complexity of the topic, Inoue engages the reader with his conversational tone. Specific case studies, research, and anecdotal evidence clearly illustrate and support the arguments and claims made. Even though the concept of “ecologies” in the context of antiracist writing assessment may be new for most readers, Inoue spends ample time explaining this concept in an approachable way. In addition, the conclusions at the end of each chapter concisely review the overarching themes and arguments. Two figures are also included that provide additional clarity of the seven interconnected elements of writing assessment ecologies and example of the labor-focused rubrics Inoue negotiates with students.
The text’s terminology and framework is consistent throughout the text. While the theory and framework are initially (and thoroughly) established in Chapter 1 and 2, Inoue revisits key concepts through the lens of classroom practice and personal experience in Chapter 3 through 5.
While Inoue does use subheadings within chapters to organize the work, these sections of text are at times quite lengthy and may rely upon an understanding of or interaction with previous sections in order to be understood. However, I also see the need to read this text holistically because of the depth of content: for example, skipping to the classroom practice suggestions misses the basic orientation to the critical theories upon which these practice suggestions lie, which is in itself a problematic omission for a reader who is wanting to do this work.
As would be expected from a professor of writing in a book about writing assessment, this text is clearly organized with a natural flow that makes it engaging for the reader. Inoue clearly guides the reader through logical arguments and strategic use of evidence to support those arguments.
The text’s interface was clear and simple to navigate; I used the iBooks app on my iPad and was able to use the features of the app with this text, including searching for terms within the book.
While there were a handful of grammatical errors throughout the entire book (one use of it’s instead of its, one use of students instead of students’, one question mark instead of a period, and one period instead of a question mark), these minor errors did not detract from the reader’s ability to understand the text. (Also, there is a great irony in assessing this text’s grammatical integrity amidst its central arguments that delineate antiracist writing assessments. So, if we re-frame this assessment of grammatical strandardization through Inoue’s own suggestion of labor, this becomes a non-issue.)
Yet again, this text should be a 10 on a scale from 1-5 in this category. The central tenants of this text rely upon cultural relevance and interrupting writing assessment practices that are culturally irrelevant. Inoue focuses on the experiences of all students in his courses through data on the standardized EPT writing assessment and their reflections/writing in his course, but a special focus is placed on the Mexican-American and Hmong students at his institution and ensuring that his writing assessment practices are culturally relevant by moving beyond the assumption of a white, mainstream habitus.
As a professor of education whose research interests lie in critical theories and their application to classroom practice, I was thrilled to find such a well-written book available on this topic as an open-source text. It helped me re-envision some of my own teaching practices, and I anticipate others who read this text will share in that transformative experience.
This text provides incisive yet accessible exploration of the institutional hegemonic racisms upon which many of our assumptions about "good" writing rely. In response, it promotes a culturally and situationally responsive ecology of writing... read more
This text provides incisive yet accessible exploration of the institutional hegemonic racisms upon which many of our assumptions about "good" writing rely. In response, it promotes a culturally and situationally responsive ecology of writing instruction and assessment. It's certainly not a "how-to," but offers important conceptual considerations for the intentional teacher committed to material antiracism.
The content is polished and, based on my theoretical posture, accurate, although topics like this one are highly politicized, and "unbiased" might be a reductive way to describe it.
The book refers to both historical and ongoing institutional racist (and antiracist) practices; although a new edition might be in order in a few years, it seems both relevant and lasting.
The target audience for this book ("graduate students, writing teachers, and writing program administrators" [Inoue 3]) should feel comfortable with the language employed in this book, but I can't envision using it below the 300 level.
Inoue establishes a thoughtful framework in the introductory sections of the book which continues throughout the text.
These concepts are very complex and not especially excerpt-able. The text is very dense, so I would not consider it modular.
The text is clearly organized and easy to follow, in terms of overall trajectory.
Inoue uses frequent and very important endnotes, but there's no way to click between the main text and the endnotes. I keep having to scroll/jump to pages, and losing my place. It seems like it would be easy enough to make these endnotes linked.
I didn't observe significant grammatical errors.
This text is exceptionally relevant, in fact focusing on antiracist cultural responsiveness. It is highly conscious of race (and other axes of oppression) and committed to social justice writing pedagogy.
I am not likely to use this book for the particular classes I teach, but I think it should be required reading for Teacher Education Programs at both undergrad and graduate levels. It would also make an excellent text for professional development projects and ongoing education for current teachers.
Inoue addresses the writing task and assessment as an "ecology" which frames the work as a living, breathing entity capable of evolving. He provides detailed components in this ecology, beginning with a very lengthy and detailed introduction that... read more
Inoue addresses the writing task and assessment as an "ecology" which frames the work as a living, breathing entity capable of evolving. He provides detailed components in this ecology, beginning with a very lengthy and detailed introduction that lays the groundwork for his thinking and writing, detailing the "function of race in writing assessments", defining "ecology" as "relationships between ...people and their environments," specifics about constructing antiracist writing assessment ecologies, a demonstration of how these work in a specific course inclusive of students' participation and response, and closes with details about designing the assessments.
As a writing teacher and an antiracist educator, I find this a very comprehensive text, inclusive of critical and thoughtful application of key scholars' work to support Inoue's thesis.
Inoue uses his sources well, supports his work thoroughly and thoughtfully. The question of bias is curious - I would argue that depends on who reads the text and for what reason. If an instructor is looking to create a "neutral" writing assignment, this is not the text for that. Inoue's thesis is not about anti-bias, rather, it is about antiracist frameworks for creating assignments and assessing them.
Inoue's text is very timely and I can see this remaining useful for years to come. He adds an interesting perspective to scholarship about writing pedagogy and assessment that is rarely addressed at this level in other writing texts. In an era where some find it easy to dismiss respectful writing practices as "politically correct", work like this gets at the structural issues involved in teaching and assessing writing projects.
Inoue's text is clearly written for an audience that would include instructors who have familiarity with theory and scholarly work. What is great is he doesn't overwhelm with jargon on any level - but that is part of his ecology. Where difficult concepts and language are introduced, they are also broken down for the reader so that this work is accessible without being simplistic.
One of the benefits of reviewing a writing scholar's work is that they are conscious of the structure they are creating, and Inoue is no exception. Each chapter is well developed, and at only 5 chapters, this text isn't too long for the average busy instructor to consult.
This text is not one that would be used by first or second year students, and would most likely only be used by students who intend to teach writing on some level, but in spite of that, this book is well organized and easy to follow. All five chapters are broken down well - some additional subheadings might be useful to break up the type, but that is purely an aesthetic consideration.
Inoue breaks down the concepts he relies on for his ecology theory, and then provides clear and consistent details about how and where this theory operates to create an antiracist writing assessment ecology. He starts with the bigger picture, breaks down the ideas, and then demonstrates how they work in the fourth chapter in an actual class, followed by a final chapter that provides considerations for design.
Inoue produced this book as a free text, and it is possible that choices were made to keep the interface simple to prevent any kind of copyright/use issues. There are very few graphics, and the text is available as a pdf or ePub document. I read the document as a pdf file, and had no problem navigating and making notes in the pdf file.
I saw no grammatical errors. Inoue's writing is clear and concise.
Since the focus of this text is antiracist writing ecologies, there are relevant examples of dominant or culturally oppressive practices that some might, depending on their personal standpoint, find problematic - but that is the point. What this text can be described as is culturally responsive - it does not center any one group as the "correct" group, nor does it simply dismiss the dominant or racially constructed methods as "bad" - rather, Inoue does a nice job pointing out how these constructions are problematic and how to create "ecologies" that are less inclusive and more equitable. Inclusivity doesn't necessarily dispense with the dominant issue.
It would be great if this were to be used as a handbook (or some form of it) to train writing center tutors, directors, writing faculty, and then once this is firmly set in that aspect, across the curriculum.
The book has a clear comprehensiveness. It shows an effective coverage of the subjects appropriate to the subject within it's index, notes, and reference pages. I followed the structure of the book easily. read more
The book has a clear comprehensiveness. It shows an effective coverage of the subjects appropriate to the subject within it's index, notes, and reference pages. I followed the structure of the book easily.
I believe it is ludicrous that any text is unbiased. All authors bring their biases and if we cannot recognize this, then why do theories exist? The author of this text shows the bias with writing assessments and how such bias marginalizes students of color, simply because our society is wrought with racism that has never been confronted. Inoue touches on the epistemological racism that works in our society because we live in a society that has been founded on racism. Until we examine what racism is and how it resides in our academic practices, we will only continue the status quo hegemonic writing practices that herald white as normal, neutral and natural. Yet, it is a book like this requesting that we stop and examine our assessment practices and examine how racism is at the heart of such practices.
The content is up-to-date. The topic is one that has longevity and relevancy. I don't see how there will be necessary updates in the future because it has a candid simplicity that is straightforward to follow for years to come.
The book is written clearly. The author, Inoue, knows deeply how race and racism is part of the landscape of the inner workings of our educational operations, such as within our assessments. He breaks his theory and praxis down coherently. I also applaud him for tackling an issue that is overwhelming present within academia, yet acutely hidden within the white illusion of hegemonic power dynamics.
The terminology related to the topic of race and racism related to assessments is well defined. I am an educational researcher and I focus on Chicana Feminist Epistemology and Critical Race Theoretical frames representing socially just educational research. Inoue, author of this book, presents the terminology and framing related to the elements of race and racism as something we must examine forthrightly within our writing assessments. Such assessments are often written and developed by professors and teachers who are bound to the epistemology of our culture and he deconstructs this so that we may understand the concepts of ecologies of assessments.
The book has clear modularity. I found the text and chapters easy to read with clear use of subheadings when needed. The book has clarity within its layout.
The organization/structure/flow is logically put together. There are five chapters and they are all well developed with a clear thesis and solid arguments to back the claims of the arguments about race and racism at the core of our writing assessments.
The text is free of interface issues. There were no distorted images/charts and I found nothing confusing to read.
The book is well written. There were just 2 that I ran across. Otherwise, I found the book very well written.
I chose this book because I research "race and racism" as it pertains to educational equity. This was the only book that i found covering this topic. Cultural relevancy is at the core of this text. The discussion of race and racism is no delicate topic and the author does a solid job covering the topic as it relates to writing assessments. He makes a strong case to show how race and racism are part of the fabric of our society and if we don't address it, it doesn't mean racism will vanish. Instead, examining the elements in our thinking as it relates to how we assess is based on our thinking, which is then validated by the values (axiology) and the nature of what we call real (ontology). He shows how writing assessments are bound to the culture we reside and abide.
I highly recommend this text!
Table of Contents
- Front Matter
- Introduction: Writing Assessment Ecologies as Antiracist Projects
- Chapter 1: The Function of Race in Writing Assessments
- Chapter 2: Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies
- Chapter 3: The Elements of an Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecology
- Chapter 4: Approaching Antiracist Work in an Assessment Ecology
- Chapter 5: Designing Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies
- Appendix A: English 160W's Grading Contract
- Appendix B: Example Problem Posing Labor Process
About the Book
In Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies, Asao B. Inoue theorizes classroom writing assessment as a complex system that is "more than" its interconnected elements. To explain how and why antiracist work in the writing classroom is vital to literacy learning, Inoue incorporates ideas about the white racial habitus that informs dominant discourses in the academy and other contexts. Inoue helps teachers understand the unintended racism that often occurs when teachers do not have explicit antiracist agendas in their assessments. Drawing on his own teaching and classroom inquiry, Inoue offers a heuristic for developing and critiquing writing assessment ecologies that explores seven elements of any writing assessment ecology: power, parts, purposes, people, processes, products, and places.
About the Contributors
Asao B. Inoue is Director of University Writing and Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Tacoma. He has published on writing assessment, validity, and composition pedagogy in Assessing Writing, The Journal of Writing Assessment, Composition Forum, and Research in the Teaching of English, among other journals and collections. His co-edited collection Race and Writing Assessment (2012) won the CCCC's Outstanding Book Award for an edited collection.