Multimodal Assessment as Disciplinary Sensemaking: Beyond Rubrics to Frameworks
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Multimodal Assessment as Disciplinary Sensemaking: Beyond Rubrics to Frameworks

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This study argues that organizational studies scholar Karl Weick's concept of sensemaking can help to integrate competing scales of multimodal assessment: the pedagogical attention to the purposes, motivations, and needs of composing students; the programmatic desire for consistent outcomes and expectations; and the disciplinary mandate to communicate collective (though not necessarily consensual) values to composition scholars and practitioners. It addresses an ongoing debate about the prevalence of common or generic rubrics in conducting multimodal assessment; while some scholars argue that multimodal assessment is compatible with common, and even print-oriented, programmatic rubrics, others insist that only assignment-specific, context-driven assessments can account for the rich diversity of multimodal processes and texts. Adopting sensemaking theory, by contrast, argues for multimodal assessment efforts to attend to cross-programmatic and disciplinary frameworks--plastic, scalable assessment categories that can be adapted to local contexts. An analysis of current multimodal assessment research and practice demonstrates how emergent sensemaking frameworks are integrating global (cross-programmatic) and local (classroom- or assignment-specific) scales of assessment. Keywords: sensemaking, multimodal assessment

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