Using appraisal analysis to map value systems in high-stakes writing rubrics
Siffrinn, Nicole Elizabeth
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With the extensive use of high-stakes tests in grades K-12 and new national standards on the rise, it is critical to consider how the language used to evaluate assessment writing could be problematic for students, teachers, and evaluators. In this study, I conduct an Appraisal analysis to examine what kind of writing is valued by the state of Pennsylvania and how changes in these values could affect the interpretation of the expectations presented in the rubrics. The goal is to compare the rubrics to see if the Keystone Exam, developed in light of the Common Core initiative, will align to the new standards. My method of analysis includes quantifying instances of Appreciation, Graduation, and Engagement in both of the rubrics and then comparing the results. My findings show a lack of clarity in expectations as to what counts as good writing in both rubrics, which suggests that the Keystone Exam will not align to the Common Core State Standards.