Skip to main content

NIFL-ASSESSMENT 2005: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:910] RE: Voice in writing

Archived Content Disclaimer

This page contains archived content from a LINCS email discussion list that closed in 2012. This content is not updated as part of LINCS’ ongoing website maintenance, and hyperlinks may be broken.

From: Debra Cargill (
Date: Wed Feb 16 2005 - 14:05:16 EST

Return-Path: <>
Received: from literacy (localhost []) by (8.10.2/8.10.2) with SMTP id j1GJ5FC18531; Wed, 16 Feb 2005 14:05:16 -0500 (EST)
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 14:05:16 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <>
Precedence: bulk
From: "Debra Cargill" <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: [NIFL-ASSESSMENT:910] RE: Voice in writing
X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
X-Mailer: Novell GroupWise Internet Agent
Status: O
Content-Length: 3926
Lines: 62

Hello All,

I'd like to add some personal experience and insight in using the REEP Writing Assessment for the first time in our 2005-06 school year. My adult education ESOL program is straining with rapid increases in numbers of students seeking adult ESOL instruction. Keeping up with the demands has many dimensions in program planning but certainly hiring qualified teachers and then offering in-service training specific to our parameters, is critical.

Having gone through the RWA training as well as sending staff to training, I find that teachers have come to see the RWA as more than just a standard assessment (which was our primary goal for implementing it). It has become multi-dimensional in it's use as an instructional tool as well. The Rubric is leveled and provides bullets of what writing characteristics students have at those levels. Teachers are able to use the Rubric as a diagnostic tool for student's writing and alter instruction according to learner needs. 

As teachers have become more aware of the learner's needs with the language skill of writing, they have become more aware of integrating all four language skills in lesson planning. They also have self-diagnosed areas of professional development as they have seen a need for improvement in teaching writing. It has become increasingly important for our particular population in this area who are looking to transition to accademic programs and needing to have writing skills in place for that transition.

Debby Cargill

Debra H. Cargill
Lead ESOL and Program Developer
Prince William County Public Schools
Adult Education
P.O. Box 389
Manassas, VA 20108
work 703-791-8387
fax 703-791-8889

>>> 02/15/05 02:30PM >>>
Shannon and all,

Voice can indeed be difficult to assess, certainly more difficult than other assessment areas, such as organization, content, mechanics, and structure.  Voice is harder to "quantify", is more a question of degree of engagement than of correct voice or incorrect voice, and is more subjective. 

Nonetheless, as we read and scored hundreds of student essays using various rubrics that did not include voice, we felt there was something missing * that these other rubrics did not capture our students' writing abilities. Our purpose in developing our rubric was to describe what we found, what our students could do.

We saw voice in the writing of even our beginning level adult English language learners. As the students' writing developed in other areas, the voice developed as well. 
We also learned (the hard way) that not all writing topics lend themselves to bringing out a writer's voice. We found that the key to generating voice in our adult student responses was an engaging topic. Our students are engaged by topics that provide them with an opportunity to validate their life experiences. 

We'd like to hear others weigh in on this.

Suzanne Grant and Pat Thurston

>>> 02/15/05 12:43 PM >>>

Since reading the rubric and  noting the inclusion of voice, I have spent an 
extraordinary amount of time  pondering this particular assessment area. It is 
a difficult area to assess.  Writing can have strong or weak elements of 
voice; however, it would be  difficult to assess someone's writing voice as right 
or wrong unlike, say,  grammatical errors. Voice is a product of the 
culmination of many things, and  whether it should be assessed outside of accelerated 
or gifted high school  programs or college English classes is an interesting 
question. To teach writing  students about voice is as necessary as teaching 
other elements of writing, but  because many of these students' lack of basic 
writing experience, I am not  "sold" on the benefits of using it as an assessment 

Adult and Community Education
Leon County  Florida  

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Oct 31 2005 - 09:48:45 EST