White (1993) articulated the assumptions that supported holistic scoring of essay exams: "It is a direct measure of writing, measuring the real thing, and hence is more valid than indirect measures" such as fill in the bubbles multiple choice exams and editing tests (p.
After reviewing research in direct writing assessment from Starch and Elliot's 1912 article, "Reliability of the grading of high school work in English," through several pieces in the mid to late 1980s, Cherry and Meyer (1993) concluded that there have been four serious problems with reliability as reported in writing research and evaluation (p.
An example of a screening examination is the nursing admission assessment.
- Data obtained from this examination are measured against standards, such as ideal height and weight , body temperature or blood pressure level standards.
- The ability to read and write should match the patient’s educational level.
- The patient ability to correctly respond to questions
- The patient ability to evaluate and act appropriately in situations requiring judgment.
- Attention, mood, speech.
- Insight, orientation, memory.
- Major stressors experienced and the client's perception of them.
- Spiritual Assessment.
- Sociocultural Assessment
American Holistic Nurses’ Association, 1998 Holistic caring process:
- It is merely a tool, a framework for ordering, documenting, and discussing the nurse-person interaction.
- Nurses who adhere to the holistic caring process focus on the care of the whole unique person, respecting and advocating for the person's rights and choices.
Information about how the client is paying for medical care (including what kind of medical and hospitalization coverage the client has)
Home safety measures and adjustments in physical facilities, activity intolerance, and activities of daily living.
Assessment and documentation are continuous within the nurse-person interaction because changes in one pattern always influence the other dimensions.
Communication barriers relative to language, culture, class, age, gender, education may impede holistic assessment.
This position led to the development of holistic scoring and other methods for evaluating performance assessments (Huot & Neal, 2006; Lane & Stone, 2006).
White (1993, 1994), who has been a stalwart supporter of holistic scoring of student writing has often expounded on the benefits associated with norming and scoring sessions.
Moss's comments about a hermeneutical approach to complex performance assessment echoed what writing assessment scholars praised about holistic scoring sessions and alternative methods for evaluating student writing (whether portfolios or essays).
Reconsidering the Traditional Framework
While White (1993) was correct that reliability is a critical issue to address, his assumption that the same methods associated with holistic scoring are the minimum requirements for portfolio assessment demonstrates how writing assessment practitioners and scholars often have a limited reliability as a theoretical construct.
While White focused on the benefits of holistic scoring both in terms of professional development and achieving acceptable reliability rates, Cherry and Meyer (1993) critiqued the way reliability has been handled in writing assessment.
Edward White (1993) claimed: '[W]hen a university or college opens discussion of the measurement of writing ability these days, the point of departure is usually a holistically scored essay test" (p.
By the 1980s, holistically scored essays enjoyed widespread use for a variety of writing assessments across educational levels, but especially in college.
The traditional paradigm for teaching evolved in the context of industrialism and its requirements for discipline, rigidity and authoritarianism (1). Emphasis is placed on the mechanics of learning and the methods of teaching (2). Traditional teaching methods are justified by the behavioural sciences and based on the premise that learning is a matter of conditioning (3). In the traditional paradigm, the role of the teacher is to define the outcomes of learning and to decide how students should learn (4). Learning in terms of given outcomes and teachers' expectations requires the memorization of content and a passive learning process (5). Knowledge and understanding are evaluated and measured in terms of a standardized punishment/reward system of grades and grade averages (6). As a result, students' motivation for learning becomes dependent on the avoidance of failure and the rewards of success - they become dependent on 'extrinsic motivation' (7). With the political, economic and social changes of today, in traditional paradigm of teaching is a likely cause for declining educational standards and is being seriously questioned 9). There is a fundamental shift in the philosophical paradigm of education and a new paradigm is emerging. Instead of placing the emphasis on methods of teaching, the new paradigm emphasizes the process of learning (10). New information about the learning process which is based on the natural functioning of the brain is provided by recent findings in the neurosciences (11). The natural function of the brain is to search for meaning in experience (12). Therefore a process of learning which is based on the brain's natural function in the context of experience is experiential learning or meaningful learning (13). Known as 'brain-based' and 'wholistic' learning, meaningful learning is based on the optimal functioning of the whole brain (14). Brain-based wholistic learning involves those brain processes which are both conscious and unconscious (15). The unconscious aspect of learning is involved with the intrinsic motives for learning or 'intrinsic motivation' (16). Emphasis on the learner's intrinsic motivation is key to the new paradigm for teaching in which the teacher's function is to facilitate the learning process. Teaching methods are based on their compatibility with the wholistic functioning of the brain (17). Discourse of traditional educational theory and practice: with the discussion of education within the narrow scope of pragmatism, the theoretical aspects of education have been deemphasized.
Williamson, who doesn't go as far as Whithaus in supporting the use of automated evaluation, argued for a "productive alliance" between those in educational measurement and those invested in teaching writing (p.