Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School


First Advisor

Michael Keller


So that they may use the most useful and beneficial assessment practices in their classrooms, composition teachers need to know what options they have when it comes to evaluating writing and the implications of their choices in their classrooms. The method one chooses to evaluate writing says a lot about the way one views the teaching of writing. In order to help teachers understand and then clarify their views toward assessment so that they can choose the best method for their classes, I have classified major, modern assessment theories according to the taxonomy James A. Berlin has developed for describing theories of rhetoric--objective, subjective, and transactional. Because one's views of assessment ultimately are influenced by and grow out of one's views about the teaching of writing, it stands to reason that a classification system for one should carry over successfully into the other. Classifying these theories makes it possible to appraise each one's value and limitations for composition instructors and students. After considering these issues, I then propose two methods that will work well for freshman composition instructors at South Dakota State University given the stated course goals and requirements, the types of students that attend this university, and the limitations freshman composition teachers face.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

English language -- Composition and exercises -- Study and teaching
English language -- Composition and exercises -- Ability testing
English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching
English language -- Rhetoric -- Ability testing




South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright