Annotating essays on-screen: the influence of reading environment on annotative practice and assessor comprehension building

Annotating essays on-screen: the influence of reading environment on annotative practice and assessor comprehension building

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Annotating essays on-screen: the influence of reading environment on annotative practice and assessor comprehension building

This paper considers how annotation practices influence the cognitive processes of assessors whilst they make judgements about the qualities of written compositions. Many academic tests use written evidence as an indicator of performance, therefore making it important to consider the role of assessors’, comprehension building when reading candidates’, textual responses.Some literature suggests that reader annotation practices might perform an important function in mediating reader workload and enhancing comprehension, although relatively little theoretical or empirical work exists to shed light on such functions in the context of educational assessment practices. In contrast to discussions about the formal role of annotations in the accountability structures of large scale educational assessment, this paper discusses the role of annotation practices on comprehension building in the context of essay marking, suggesting that effective annotation links to the flexible characteristics of annotating practices making it able to respond to the varying features of a reading environment.The paper then draws on empirical literature to suggest that some reading environments might hinder flexible annotation practices, potentially compromising reader comprehension and therefore undermining the validity of assessments of written composition.

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