Measuring Civic Writing: The Development and Validation of the Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum
As youth increasingly access the public sphere and contribute to civic life through digital tools, scholars and educators are rethinking how civically engaged writing is taught, nurtured, and assessed. This article presents the conceptual underpinnings of the National Writing Project's Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum (CEWAC), a new tool for assessing youth's civically engaged writing. It defines four attributes of civically engaged writing using qualitative analysis of expert interviews and literature: employs a public voice, advocates civic engagement or action, argues a position based on reasoning and evidence, and employs a structure to support a position. The article also presents reliability and validity evidence for CEWAC. The study finds that CEWAC has a moderate to high level of exact agreement and a high level of exact or adjacent agreement. Covariation analyses showed that, even with similar scoring patterns, CEWAC's attributes hold at least a moderate level of independence. This evidence, coupled with robust qualitative evidence around reliability and validity, establish CEWAC's strong technical properties. The findings suggest that CEWAC can be used both in research and in the classroom to make visible attributes of civically engaged writing often overlooked in traditional assessment frameworks.
Keywords: public writing, civic engagement, writing assessment, rubric, reliability