Contract Grading in a Technical Writing Classroom: A Case Study
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Contract Grading in a Technical Writing Classroom: A Case Study

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

The subjectivity of assessing writing has long been an issue for instructors, who carefully craft rubrics and other indicators of assessment while students grapple with understanding what constitutes an "A" and how to meet instructor-generated criteria. Based on student frustration with traditional grading practices, this case study of a 20-student technical writing classroom employed teacher-as-researcher observation and student surveys to examine how students in a technical writing classroom in the Northeast collaborated together to generate criteria relating to the quality of their writing assignments. The study indicates that although students perceive more involvement in the grading process, they resist participation in crafting criteria as a class and prefer traditional grading methods by an "expert", considering it a normative part of the grading process. The study concludes with implications for integrating contract grading in the technical writing classroom.

Keywords: technical writing, contract grading, assessment, student feedback

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