Green Squiggly Lines:

Integrating Micro- and Macro-Levels of Response: The Place for Student Voices?

However, reading Bizzell (2000, 1999, 1997), Shor (1996), and Villanueva (1993) should remind us that "the more important aspects" of writing are never beyond-are never removed from-students' sentences, from the sophisticated rawness of their language, from their visions of the world. These visions incorporate many desires, ranging from a felt need for individual expression to wanting to the economic need to get a good paying job. Making student compositions public through electronic publication, through electronic portfolios, changes the rules of the game. It changes--or should change--the rules of assessment, and it may even change students' writing processes.

To construct elaborate systems of electronic writing assessment based on portfolio models without confronting the material conditions of students' composing environments would be a mistake. Blair and Takayoshi (1997) are right when they call for "teachers to develop evaluation strategies and approaches based in electronic writing [by shifting] their conceptions of text, writing, reading, readers, and writers" (p. 368). However, our process of shifting conceptions of texts, writing, reading, readers, and writers needs to acknowledge and confront the already present micro-, sentence-level interventions found in word processing software. As we've seen, the assessment and evaluation of language is an integral aspect of writing teachers' identities.

Reading, responding to, and evaluating student writing are complex tasks that engage with the detailed constructions of students' sentences as well as the development of rhetorical abilities. As word processing and other forms of software become further integrated with students' composing processes, students and teachers of writing need to exam the links among composing media and the assessment of student compositions. Software is already reading, responding to, and evaluating student writing-it is no longer a question of "resisting" the software, but of using it in productive-communicative-ways.

THE END (well sort of...)