Digital Learning

Making Classroom Writing Assessment More Visible, Equitable, and Portable through Digital Badging

88 views 0

Author: Stephanie West-Puckett

Summary: Educator Stephanie West-Puckett describes her experience using collaboratively designed digital badges as a networked, contextual, and participatory form of writing assessment in a college first-year writing course. She describes how this “community-based assessment” supported diverse conceptions of writing and prompted critical discussion about what constitutes successful writing, pushing back against narrow definitions of success and deficit approaches often imposed by rubric-based assessments.

Original Date of Publication: November 2016


To remove the stigma from the term “writing assessment” for classroom teachers, I argue that we should recognize the classroom as the primary site of writing assessment, making visible the ways students and teachers can and do actively negotiate writing assessment discourses, histories, values, and their own biases in this hyperlocal space. As such, this article offers a rich case study of these negotiations in my own first-year writing classroom, demonstrating the affordances and constraints of using digital badging to make visible, with visual modes, those discussions and decisions about what counts as “good” writing and who gets to decide. Borrowing from research in participatory literacies as well as social semiotics, I argue that social justice in classroom writing assessment is attainable only when students and teachers participate in assessment design, interpretation, and continuous inquiry into pre- and post-assessment conditions. In adopting digital badging platforms, I have found the technological means to engage students in this participatory process. This article demonstrates how we can, in our classrooms, pair this open-source technology with practices of critical validity inquiry (Perry) to consciously interrupt bias, promote a more diverse construct of writing, and better meet the needs of students of color and lower income students.

Related Resources

West-Puckett, Stephanie. “Making Classroom Writing Assessment More Visible, Equitable, and Portable through Digital Badging.” College English 79:2 (2016) 127-151. Copyright ©2016 by the National Council of Teachers of English. Reprinted with permission.

Original Source: NCTE,

Would you recommend this resource to others?