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The Rhetoric* of Writing Assessment
AuthorMiller, Katrina Miller
AdvisorChaput, Catherine J.
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The Rhetoric* of Writing Assessment uses strategic variations of rhetorical theory to reimagine writing assessment’s complicated disciplinary past and rethink its foundational concepts through its multifaceted rhetorical situatedness. Although scholars such as Bob Broad, Brian Huot, Patricia Lynne, Norbert Elliot, Edward M. White, and Kathleen Blake Yancey have long understood assessment as a rhetorically rich concept, this dissertation extends previous conceptions of writing assessment as a rhetorical act by adopting a generative theoretical framework that approaches writing assessment as a dynamic and relational rhetorical process influenced by a whole host of suasive forces. Situated at the theoretical crossroads of rhetoric and writing studies, this study relies on generative use of rhetorical theory and interpretive forecasting to frame the integrated analyses in each body chapter. In examining the rhetorical history of writing assessment as a field of study, the rhetorical circulation of writing assessment discourse, and the rhetorical relations between individuals and institutions, it articulates the complex rhetoricity of writing assessment as a theoretical construct and field of study. Through this rhetorical recuperation, the author argues that understanding the representations of writing assessment in and across discursive spheres—including technical and the public spheres—is a promising means of widening the critical aperture for writing assessment theory. This study is in harmony with the social justice turn in writing assessment theory, complements the public turn in rhetoric and composition, and contributes to broader academic conversations on the present challenges facing higher education.