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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32185

Title: Evaluation and Teachers’ Perceptions of Gender in Sixth-Grade Student Writing
Authors: Peterson, Shelley Stagg
Keywords: writing assessment
gender perceptions
narrative writing
gender disparities
sociocultural influences
Issue Date: Nov-1998
Publisher: National Council of Teachers of English
Citation: Peterson, S. (1998). Evaluation and teachers’ perceptions of gender in sixth-grade student writing. Research in the Teaching of English, 33(2), 181-208.
Abstract: The desire for accountability has led designers of large-scale writing assessment to embrace a formal semantics theory of writing evaluation that disregards cultural influences on the writing and marking processes in its emphasis on consistency and unbiased scoring of student writing. However, an examination of the scores assigned to the narrative writing of elementary and middle-grade students on large-scale examinations in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States reveals the need to consider sociocultural influences because scores on girls' writing are consistently higher than scores on boys' writing. This study investigates the relationship between teachers' perceptions of gender-related differences in grade six students' narrative writing and teachers' scoring of five narrative papers written by sixth-grade boys and girls. Participating teachers scored the narrative papers using a Canadian provincial scoring guide. The teachers who did not know the gender of the writers were asked to identify the gender of the writer (if possible) and to describe the characteristics of the narrative that helped them to determine the writer's gender. All teachers were asked to compare and contrast girls' and boys' classroom narrative writing. Significant differences in the scores appeared for only one paper, written by a girl, that exemplified both male and female narrative writing characteristics. Teachers who felt that a girl wrote this paper scored the paper significantly higher than teachers who identified the writer as a boy. Teachers who disagreed in their identification of the writer's gender drew upon similar elements from the writing to support their views, yet evaluated those elements in contrasting ways that revealed a stance privileging girls' narrative writing. In addition, teachers characterized girls' classroom writing as being more sophisticated than boys' writing on all five dimensions of Moffett's (1968) continuum of discursive growth.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32185
ISSN: 0034-527X
Appears in Collections:Faculty (CTL)

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