Editor’s Introduction | Summer 2023


The Journal of Writing Assessment’s Reading List is excited to release our Summer 2023 Issue!

Our reviews in this issue explore four recent books related to assessment across a spectrum of educational contexts, including K-12 classrooms, two-year colleges, and four-year institutions. The texts also cover a range of assessment areas, including writing placement, writing in and across the disciplines, equitable classroom assessment, and high-stakes standardized testing in K-12 contexts. Reviews of the following texts are represented in this issue:

We are thankful for the energy and hard work of all of our reviewers and we hope their reviews bring renewed attention to these texts and help our readers discover new scholarship to enrich their work. We’d also like to thank our amazing team of graduate assistant editors: Kathleen Kryger (University of Arizona), Jennifer Burke Reifman (University of California, Davis), Tiffany Smith (Georgia State University), and Sarah Stetson (Brown University).

As always, we are interested in recruiting new reviewers; you can be added to our list by filling out this form. We’re also always interested in recommendations for new texts in writing assessment to review (self-promotion is welcome!); you can contact us at jwareadinglist@gmail.com.


Stacy Wittstock | Assistant Editor, JWA Reading List | University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Chris Blankenship | Assistant Editor, JWA Reading List | Salt Lake Community College

Review of Diane Kelly-Riley and Norbert Elliot’s Improving Outcomes: Disciplinary Writing, Local Assessment, and the Aim of Fairness

Reviewed by Anthony Lince, University of California, San Diego

Kelly-Riley, D., & Elliot, N. (Eds.). (2020). Improving outcomes: Disciplinary writing, local assessment, and the aim of fairness. Modern Language Association.

When it comes to assessment, our field is currently having challenging, but much-needed, conversations—some of which are focused on equity, linguistic justice, and student agency. Asao Inoue (2019), for example, has pushed back against traditional grading practices and, is instead, in favor of labor-based grading contracts, which, Inoue asserts, “attempt to form an inclusive, more diverse ecological place, one that can be antiracist and anti-White supremacist by its nature (p. 13). These conversations around assessment, however, aren’t exclusive to our field. In Susan D. Blum’s (2020) edited collection, Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead), educators in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields all wrestle with how they can move away from grading practices that are punitive and not student-centered. (For an excellent overview of this book, check out Michelle Tram Nguyen’s recent review on the JWA Reading List.)

Improving Outcomes: Disciplinary Writing, Local Assessment, and the Aim of Fairness—a collection edited by Diane Kelly-Riley and Norbert Elliot—contributes to this important conversation on assessment with a focus on fairness and assessment across the disciplines. Kelly-Riley and Elliot note that, “within this collection, fairness operates as an integrative principle” (p. 1). Though, fairness isn’t thought of as a monolithic idea that can be applied to all fields. Instead, as Anne Ruggles Gere makes clear in her foreword, “by recognizing and valuing the discourses of a given discipline, writing assessment can enact fairness in assessment rather than applying inflexible standards to all fields” (p. vi). She continues: “the best assessment is constructed locally, and, for college students, the disciplines in which they enroll become a local context” (p. vi). Naturally, then, to discuss this varied, and situated, idea of fairness, the contributors in this collection span the disciplines—from nursing to engineering, writing studies, and architecture—and are from a range of academic contexts: two- and four-year to public and private institutions. Constructed around putting “fairness at the center” of writing instruction and assessment (p. 5), this collection is divided into four parts: “Values,” “Foundational Issues,” “Disciplinary Writing,” and “Location.”

The contributors of part one, “Values,” all examine the unique needs of students within specific academic contexts and how educational values should be tied to those needs. Mya Poe begins part one with her essay, “A Matter of Aim: Disciplinary Writing, Writing Assessment, and Fairness.” She turns to assessment research to “examine two common frames for writing assessment in the disciplines—program accreditation and classroom research” (p. 17), concluding that considerations around student fairness are often ignored in both frames. Ruth Osorio’s essay, “A Disability-as-Insight Approach to Multimodal Assessment,” lays out ways in which a disability-as-insight model can be used “as a path that merges fairness—designing assessments that allow for diverse and flexible methods for achieving the primary goal of an assignment—and social justice” (p. 29). Brooke A. Carlson and Cari Ryan, in “Fairness as Pedagogy: Uniformity, Transparency, and Equity through Trajectory-Based Responses to Writing in Hawai’i,” use rubrics as a tool to promote fairness by being transparent with students about the evaluative methods in which they will be graded.

The contributors of part two, “Foundational Issues,” outline educational measurement as socially situated. The first essay argues for seeing assessment as an evidentiary argument—with a focus on students developing competencies in valued activities (Mislevy). Benander and Refaei, in their essay, detail how their basic writing courses have outcomes that are fairly assessed “through shared rubrics tailored to the interests of each student” (p. 67). The next essay explores how peer-feedback can be embedded in classrooms as a means to promote fairness (Hart-Davidson and Meeks). Erick Montenegro, in the penultimate essay of part two, asserts that “assessment efforts must become culturally responsive” to better understand the learning gains made by students (p. 93). The last essay in part two argues for faculty members to learn about various disciplinary perspectives to create shared learning outcomes at specific institutions (Schneider and Hennings).

In part three, “Disciplinary Writing,” the scholars focus on assessments that are situated within their specific educational contexts. The first essay argues for a strengthened connection between high school and college literacies (Farris). The next essay’s authors discuss how they use evidence-based assessment in their first-year composition program to promote programmatic fairness (Buyserie, Macklin, Frye, and Ericsson). Singer-Freeman and Bastone, in their essay, argue for reflective writing in a child development course to help students think deeply about their own lives and the course content. In an architecture writing course, Hogrefe and Briller argue for reflective practices that can help their diverse cohort of students. In their essay, Maneval and Ward discuss how the incorporation of nursing-specific writing genre assignments in nursing classes could elevate writing itself as a practice. Williams, in the last essay of part three, discusses issues of fairness as it relates to assessment within science, engineering, and mathematics courses.

“Location,” part four, closes the collection by having essays that move beyond traditional four-year institutions. Rasmussen and Reid consider questions around transfer and equal opportunity at their two-year college. Whithaus, in the next essay, considers how “localized assessments can attend to fairness, as well as validity and reliability,” not only face-to-face but online and in hybrid classes as well (p. 213). Rhodes, in the final essay of part four and in this edited collection, discusses accreditation as something that can, and should, “affirm institutional commitment to fairness for students’ access to, and achievement of, quality learning” (p. 225).

Taken together, there were parts of this collection that strongly resonated with me. A disability-as-insight approach for multimodal assessment (Osorio) helps me consider the ways I can construct my classrooms and assignments to best help all learners succeed, especially students who learn in non-normative ways. Mya Poe’s essay was also illuminating as she illustrated the racial harm that placement tests can have on certain students. And Hogrefe and Briller, in their essay on an architecture writing program, provided a wonderful message for any teacher or program director to take away: to have authenticity of curriculum, “students [should be] placed at the center of our efforts and treated as colleagues” (p. 170).

On the other hand, the essays in this collection that had a focus on using rubrics weren’t, for me, all that convincing. Those authors claimed that rubrics can be fair because they are transparent for students. However, I question this claim, and I wonder how transparent racially situated biases can be through the use of rubrics. Furthermore, in my experience, rubrics seem to erase individuality, not promote diverse thinking. If fairness is the goal, rubrics seem to hinder that outcome.

With that noted, the conversations in this book centered on fairness and assessment are crucial for our field and others to have. Any rhetoric and writing studies scholar can find engaging ideas here, but I’d specifically recommend this collection to new rhet/comp scholars entering the field and/or to those in other disciplines wanting to integrate writing into their programs—and, by extension, assessment of that writing—with the aim of being fair.


Blum, S. (2020). Ungrading: Why rating students undermines learning (and what to do instead). West Virginia University Press.

Inoue, A. B. (2019). Labor-based grading contracts: Building equity and inclusion in the compassionate writing classroom. WAC Clearinghouse https://doi.org/10.37514/PER-B.2019.0216.0

Nguyen, M. (2022). [Review of the book Ungrading: Why rating students undermines learning (and what to do instead)]. The Journal of Writing Assessment Reading List.

Review of Sandra Murphy and Peggy O’Neill’s Assessing Writing to Support Learning: Turning Accountability Inside Out

Reviewed by Jeremy Levine, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Murphy, S., & O’Neill, P. (2023). Assessing writing to support learning: Turning accountability inside out. Routledge.

Sandra Murphy and Peggy O’Neill’s (2023) Assessing Writing to Support Learning: Turning Accountability Inside Out synthesizes existing research on writing assessment, psychometrics, and writing pedagogy to argue that teachers should be at the center of the school accountability system. Foregrounding formative assessment processes such as portfolio grading, Murphy and O’Neill propose a framework through which ecological writing assessment (which has been applied at the post-secondary level, per Wardle and Roozen 2012; Inoue 2015) can be brought to K-12 instruction. In the book’s first chapter, they argue that such a pivot will reduce the extent to which high-stakes assessment narrows writing curricula, account for a fuller picture of writers’ knowledge aligned with modern research, and include teachers as active decision-makers in writing assessment. This claim illuminates the administrative and policy risks of hitching the K-12 writing assessment wagon to standardized tests: because of their limited view, tests can misguide administrators and the public about what our students know about writing. On the teaching side, the emphasis on the narrowed curriculum could also include examination of the contextual nature of testing’s influence on instruction (McCarthey, 2008) and how teachers mediate testing expectations through their own goals for writing (e.g. Wahleithner, 2018). These local concerns shift the book’s exigence slightly: teachers are already making writing assessment their own; a more productive policy paradigm would build on this teacher agency, rather than create obstacles for it.

Chapter Two is a crash course in writing assessment, overviewing the fundamental concepts of reliability and validity. Validity is of particular interest to Murphy and O’Neill, who make two validity-based critiques of high-stakes testing. The first is that the accountability system must take consequential validity seriously: that the purpose of administering a test affects how teachers and students approach it, meaning the curricular changes that accompany high-stakes testing are a threat to the test’s validity. Second, standardized testing has weaknesses in terms of construct validity: the extent to which a test measures what it claims to. The construct validity critique is built on the concept that student text is not necessarily a stand-in for student writing knowledge, as a student’s ability to produce a specific genre under testing circumstances cannot speak to their rhetorical flexibility or approach to writing across genres, purposes, or settings. This claim about construct validity helpfully builds on the growing body of research that locates substantial portions of writing development as taking place off the page, including concepts such as dispositions and identities (see Driscoll & Zhang, 2022). The importance of each of these concerns is made clear in Chapter Three, which focuses on evolving theories of writing and writing instruction. Accounting for both social and cognitive theories of writing, O’Neill and Murphy offer an overview of writing concepts (e.g. writing as expression, writing as a product, writing as a social activity, etc.) and instructional practices (writing for a real audience, building genre knowledge, participating in peer review, reflecting). Composition researchers will surely recognize these lists of concepts, but they do important work in demonstrating how out-of-step a high-stakes exam is with theories of writing instruction (a blow to its consequential validity) and to how writing is understood (a blow to its construct validity).

With these flaws in high-stakes assessment established, the rest of the book pivots toward solutions. The first of two goals in Chapter Four is to outline classroom-scale models of formative assessment that give students opportunities to reflect on their own writing processes. To illustrate the rigor of such formative assessments, and demonstrate their promise of improving metacognition, O’Neill and Murphy offer several examples of self-assessment rubrics that may help teachers and students identify key facets of the writing process to focus on. The second goal of Chapter 4 is to describe approaches for large-scale assessment practices that align with the cognitive and social characteristics of writing described in the third chapter. This means conceiving of writing as a task- or context-specific activity, which in testing circumstances might involve portfolio assessment, assessments that integrate reading and writing, collaborative writing, and digital or multimodal writing tasks. These recommendations culminate in the authors’ invocation for accountability to be turned “inside-out,” putting the complexity of writing, and the needs of students, at the forefront of writing assessment on a large scale, rather than prioritizing the psychometric approach of standardization and controlling variability. These arguments for rewriting large-scale writing assessment lead to questions about what happens when these measures are attached to accountability systems. For example, portfolio assessment at the state level may absorb all student writing into a bureaucratic system (Scott, 2008), or schools may feel undue pressure to improve, say, “writing motivation” scores, and as a result, could focus more on scores than on actual writing motivation (see Koretz, 2017). O’Neill and Murphy make a strong case for why these elements must be included in large-scale assessment; the question is what the implications might be once that happens.

Chapters Five and Six offer strategies for bringing the recommendations from Chapter Four into reality. Chapter Five focuses on methods for redesigning writing assessment, arguing that teachers need to be at the center of assessment processes because teachers are ultimately responsible for implementing classroom changes. To make this change a reality, O’Neill and Murphy propose investing in professional development, involving teachers in assessment design, and supporting collaboration across levels of education. The sixth and final chapter of the volume focuses on an ecological model of writing assessment. Building on the work of Inoue (2015) and Wardle and Roozen (2012), both of whom focus on assessment ecologies at the post-secondary level, the authors offer an invocation for similar frameworks to make their way into K-12 schools. Combined with the emerging psychometric concept of ecological validity, this chapter’s focus on ecologies creates a “springboard for action” (p. 192) that can mobilize teachers and researchers toward shifting the terms of control for assessment and accountability in the United States. This strategy combines rather nicely with parallel calls for reform in education studies, which suggest student surveys (Schneider et. al, 2021) or inspectorates (Berner, 2017) may be more productive (and ecologically-minded) assessment systems. As O’Neill and Murphy conceptualize it, writing can be a productive window into school life, thereby giving it the potential to be especially useful in these imagined reforms.

In total, Assessing Writing to Support Learning: Turning Accountability Inside Out offers conversation-starting concepts for multiple audiences. For policymakers at school, local, and even state levels, it illustrates how modern conceptions of accountability are out-of-step with best practices in writing instruction and assessment. For instructors at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels, it invites reflection around how classroom assessment practices can be used to foster students’ learning about writing, and when or how such assessment practices can become disconnected from assessment. For researchers on writing, it offers a framework for conceptualizing validity on ecological terms and invites future inquiry on the intersection of classroom assessment and policy concerns. Primarily grounded in research and concepts from writing studies, its connections to education reform – implementation, accountability, and possibilities for reform – leave lingering questions regarding how the proposed ecological model of assessment can be implemented as policy. At its core, the text is a reminder that classrooms are about relationships between students and teachers, and this relationship — not the concerns of parties outside of that room — should be at the center of conversations about learning.


Berner, A (2017). Would School Inspections Work in the United States? Johns Hopkins School of Education, Institute for Education Policy.

Driscoll, D. L., & Zhang, J. (2022, March). Mapping long-term writing experiences: Operationalizing the writing development model for the study of persons, processes, contexts, and time. In Composition Forum (Vol. 48). Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition.

Inoue, A. B. (2015). Antiracist writing assessment ecologies: Teaching and assessing writing for a socially just future. Parlor Press.

Koretz, D. (2017). The testing charade: Pretending to make schools better. University of Chicago Press

McCarthey, S. J. (2008). The impact of No Child Left Behind on teachers’ writing instruction. Written Communication, 25(4), 462-505

Murphy, S., & O’Neill, P. (2022). Assessing writing to support learning: Turning accountability inside out. Taylor & Francis.

Schneider, J., Noonan, J., White, R. S., Gagnon, D., & Carey, A. (2021). Adding “student voice” to the mix: Perception surveys and state accountability systems. AERA Open, 7, 1-18.

Scott, T. (2008). “Happy to comply”: Writing assessment, fast-capitalism, and the cultural logic of control. The Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 30(2), 140-161.

Wahleithner, J. M. (2018). Five portraits of teachers’ experiences teaching writing: Negotiating knowledge, student need, and policy. Teachers College Record, 120(1), 1-60

Wardle, E., & Roozen, K. (2012). Addressing the complexity of writing development: Toward an ecological model of assessment. Assessing Writing17(2), 106-119.

Review of Henning et al.’s Reframing Assessment to Center Equity: Theories, Models, and Practices

Reviewed by Stephanie Hedge, University of Illinois, Springfield

Henning, G. W., Jankowski, N. A., Montenegro, E., Baker, G. R., & Lundquist, A. E. (Eds.). (2022). Reframing assessment to center equity: Theories, models, and practices. Stylus Publishing, LLC.

It has become increasingly unethical to ignore the role that higher education plays in the perpetuation of systemic injustices and inequalities, and many individuals and institutions are looking for ways to upend these systems to fulfill the promise and power of a higher education for all who enter these hallowed halls. But challenging entrenched systems of power is a big ask, and uncertainty about where or how to start that work is a barrier that can turn activist desire into stagnation or apathy. Reframing Assessment to Center Equity: Theories, Models, and Practices offers one avenue for starting this work: building and implementing assessment lenses, frameworks, and practices that center ideologies of equity, both as practice (how we conduct assessment) and purpose (using assessment to discover and remediate equity gaps). The editors of this text are engaged in a passionate call to action, inviting the reader to take what they learn in this “companion on an equity journey” (p. xvi) to make real, meaningful change. The second chapter, “The Assessment Activist,” by Divya Samuga_Gyaanam+Bheda, all but begs the reader to deliberately, consciously, purposefully, and repeatedly, pick up the mantle of activist and start doing the work of making change (p. 25), and the following 18 chapters outline concretely how to do that work. Do not just read this book and put it back down, the editors implore, but use it as the starting point for disrupting systems of oppression. The words are nothing without the work.

Editors Gavin W. Henning, Gianina R. Baker, Natasha A. Jankowski, Anne E. Lundquist, and Erick Montenegro balance theory and practice, following “a framework of ‘what, why, how, and now what’” (p. xv) as they unpack what equity centered assessment desires to be and why it is vital and urgent before moving to sharing specific, concrete examples of what this looks like in practice, from the individual classroom to the larger institution. This text figures assessment as a kind of lever for institutional change, a practice that determines what questions are asked, what stories are told, and what voices are heard. The book invites readers to think about assessment beyond a “compliance/improvement divide” (p. 326), and instead as a “transformative process on behalf of social justice and decolonization in the academy and the world” (p. 303).

The central claim of this text is that assessment is never neutral, which is both a critique and a call for change. Editors Montenegro and Henning point out that assessment “is planned and carried out by people and conducted within social institutions guided by norms, policies, assumptions, and preferences, which means bias is inherently part of the process because assessment is socially situated” (p. 5). This text argues that if those of us who conduct assessment are not deliberate in our framing—if we do not explicitly and consciously choose a methodology that centers equity—we are using the “default” frameworks of oppression, capitalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. “Assessment is complicit in either exacerbating the equity problem already existing in higher education today or mitigating it. It is not a value neutral exercise,” says Bheda in her chapter, before inviting the reader to be a “revolutionary assessment activist” (p. 33). Changing the frameworks that we use for deciding what, when, how, and why to conduct assessment has the potential to create ideological and epistemic shifts institutionally, and the text shares several different approaches to doing this work. In the first chapter, Montenegro and Henning offer series of research paradigms (similar to Janet Emig’s 1982 Inquiry Paradigms, although she is not cited here) that explain the underlying epistemologies that guide assessment methods and call for the adoption of frameworks and paradigms that either make space for or explicitly require a focus on equity and social justice (p. 14). The third chapter explores a series of historical assessment “lenses,” tracing the broad approaches of assessment practice through time to point out the equity gaps in assessment historically and argue for a new lens that centers equity. Chapter four provides “The Current State of Scholarship on Assessment” and acts as a mini-encyclopedia of relevant topics, definitions, and schools of thought, while chapter five unpacks the promise and power of storytelling as an assessment strategy. Closing out the first part of their text, chapters six and seven share models, approaches, and lenses to thinking about equity-centered assessment, giving concrete, specific changes to make in existing assessment systems to center equity. The authors are careful to avoid advocating for a single approach, and rather provide the tools for thinking critically about existing frameworks and epistemologies and shifting towards equity.

That said, throughout the text, the editors pay particular attention to Indigenous ways of knowing and being in the world. There are sections in the framing chapters dedicated to Indigenous epistemologies, and chapter 7 works to “elevate the work of decolonization and Indigeneity and provide an example of that in practice” (p. 112), acting as showcase for the ways that shifts in an assessment lens lead to particular kinds of assessment practices. The authors are careful to include Indigenous voices in this chapter (and others) as they lift up this specific paradigm.

Following on from the required shifts in worldview asked by the first part of the text, part three dives into what this kind of assessment looks like in practice. The authors are quick to point out that changes in perspective are the first step, but they are just the first step, and more work is required. “There is no checklist or four-step process to attain equity” (p. 327) Bheda, Jankowski, and Peter Felten argue in the closing chapter, but there are ways to do this work in multiple different spaces, as chapters tackle the particulars of assessment in class meetings and assignment development; opening assessment practices to meaningful explorations of the environment and the inclusion of student voices; moving assessment to cocurricular spaces and student affairs; and thinking about assessment in STEM, at community colleges, and at HBCUs. While much of the first section of this text was authored by the editors, the chapters in part three are all authored by the diverse scholars and assessment practitioners who did the work, tracing their practices as a how-to guide for making meaningful change in higher ed.

This book ends the way that it opens: with a call to action. “There is a lot of good trouble assessment professionals can get into, and you have agency” (p. 339), the editors say. Deciding to do this work is the first step. It is not the hardest step (for this work is hard), but it requires the greatest conviction, and it requires community, intentionality, and a measure of risk. Picking up this book is the start of doing that work, which the editors acknowledge as they invite the reader into further conversation in the conclusion. But the work is worth doing. And this text seeks to empower the reader to do the work; to change the world. The book ends with a challenge: “what are you going to do with this newfound power?” (p. 339). How will you answer their call?


Emig, J. (1982). Inquiry Paradigms and Writing. College Composition and Communication, 33(1), 64–75. https://doi.org/10.2307/357845

Review of Jessica Nastal, Mya Poe, and Christie Toth’s Writing Placement in Two-Year Colleges: The Pursuit of Equity in Postsecondary Education

Reviewed by Megan Friess, Cypress College

Nastal, J., Poe, M., & Toth, C. (Eds.). (2022). Writing placement in two-year Colleges: The pursuit of equity in postsecondary education. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado. https://doi.org/10.37514/PRA-B.2022.1565

What does it mean to be college-ready? Who belongs in the first-year composition classroom versus developmental English courses? Why these students and not others? How is the decision made? And is that decision truly equitable? If not, what can faculty and writing program administrators do about it? Responding to questions like these and to a long-standing call for change in writing assessment and placement practices in higher education, Writing Placement in Two-Year Colleges: The Pursuit of Equity in Postsecondary Education showcases how eleven different community colleges from across the United States have tackled the challenge of reform in both big and small ways.

The authors included in this work acknowledge the harm that traditional writing placement methods have caused, such as chronic underplacement, especially to BIPOC and other marginalized students, and offer a multitude of approaches for implementing more equitable writing placement practices. Where each college is in this process and what the results look like vary, but every chapter in this collection showcases the stories, research, data, and strategies used by faculty members to affect real and lasting change at their colleges.

The book is designed to be read in a couple of different ways, depending on the needs and interests of the reader. Firstly, broken up into three overarching sections (The Long Road of Placement Reform, Innovation and Equity in Placement Reform, and Pandemic-Precipitated Placement Reform) the book presets the case studies and methods used by timespan. The eleven chapters advance from pre-COVID-19-pandemic efforts and methods prompted by internal institutional push for change, to pre-pandemic externally prompted change, and finally to pandemic-driven efforts and speculation for post-pandemic continuances. The case studies range from methods that have been implemented and data recorded and analyzed, to “in the thick of it” changes and efforts, to hopes for lasting change and further efforts to reform and adapt. For alternative ways of reading, the introduction presents charts which inform the reader how to read by specific placement method or by region, accrediting body, and state. These options allow the reader freedom to navigate the eleven chapters and find what would best aid them for their unique position and desires. On the whole, this collection “reminds us that scholars at two-year colleges are at the forefront of advocating for and developing transformative and humanizing writing placement assessments that create more equitable conditions for historically minoritized students at two year colleges” (p. xi).

Diving deeper into the book, section one, The Long Road of Placement Reform, details four two-year colleges’ attempts to reform, create, adapt, and refine writing placement assessments for their students. The first chapter, “No Reform Is an Island: Tracing the Influences and Consequences of Evidence-Based Placement Reform at a Two-Year Predominantly Black Institution,” by Jessica Nastal, Jason Evans, and Jessica Gravely of Prairie State College, looks at over a decade of the college’s history with writing placement. While the school did not use standardized testing as a placement method, the authors point out that “even well-intentioned homegrown placement tools also reproduce the flaws and betray the influences of the larger system” (p. 35). They highlight how reforming the “placement ecosystem” (p. 53) does not happen in a vacuum but requires institutional buy-in and effort on every level. “From ACCUPLACER to Informed Self-Placement at Whatcom Community College: Equitable Placement as an Evolving Practice” by Jeffrey Klausman and Signee Lynch is the second chapter of the work. It surveys the development of Whatcom Community College’s efforts to move from the ACCUPLACER test, which mainly focused on grammar and editing skills, toward an online multiple-measure, directed self-placement process which they call Informed Self-Placement. Chapter three is an article by Kris Messer, Jamey Gallagher, and Elizabeth Hart titled, “A Path to Equity, Agency, and Access: Self-Directed Placement at the Community College of Baltimore County” which presents their reflections on how self-directed placement for students has acted as a “catalyst for a shift in not just [their] pedagogy but [their] curriculum” (p. 100). Rounding out section one, “Welcome/Not Welcome: From Discouragement to Empowerment in the Writing Placement Process at Central Oregon Community College,” by Jane Denison-Furness, Stacey Lee Donohue, Annemarie Hamlin, and Tony Russell highlights how the writing placement assessment is one of the first introductions students have to college and how standardized testing can have harmful effects on the mindset of these students. They document their efforts to reform writing placement practices alongside redesigning course structures and curriculum. Section one presents stories and data to highlight that more equitable reform is possible and acts as a guide for long-term, systemic reform for those looking to start their own efforts or to refine processes already in place.

The second section is titled Innovation and Equity in Placement Reform and showcases four colleges’ responses to various mandates on writing placement reformation to better address issues of equity. The first entry of this section is chapter five, “Narrowing the Divide in Placement at a Hispanic Serving Institution: The Case of Yakima Valley College,” by Carolyn Calhoon-Dillahunt and Travis Margoni. This case study illustrates how “placement reform plays an important role in the college’s mission as an HSI and serves as a foundation for reforms across campus toward more equitable and antiracist practices” (p. 131). In chapter six, “Putting ACCUPLACER in Its Place: Expanding Evidence in Placement Reform at Jamestown Community College,” Jessica M. Kubiak shows how her college is moving toward a multiple measures assessment, and she considers how non-matriculated students impact the discussion and efforts of writing placement reforms. The case study that makes up chapter seven, “Tracking the Racial Consequences of Placement by Probability: A Case Study at Kingsborough Community College,” highlights the authors’, Annie Del Principe, Lesley Broder, and Lauren Levesque, challenges with using a writing sample as a single method of placement. Instead, they argue that a multiple measures assessment would hold more validity, especially for students of color. Chapter eight’s article, “Mind the (Linguistic) Gap: On ‘Flagging’ ESL Students at Queensborough Community College” by Charissa Che, “demonstrates the need to reconsider the complexities of ‘ESL student’ identities for more equitable writing placement” (p. 191). Altogether, section two provides examples of how to navigate externally mandated reform of writing assessment and placement from a variety of levels, from state to local to institutional policies. 

Finally, the third section, Pandemic-Precipitated Placement Reform, reveals how faculty at various colleges used the pandemic’s effects on schooling to create more equitable and ethical writing placement assessment methods. Faculty of Cuyahoga Community College, Ashlee Brand and Bridget Kriner, start this section off with their article, “Pandemic Placement at Cuyahoga Community College: A Case Study,” which acts as chapter nine. Dealing with the limitations that the pandemic placed on their college’s previous methods of writing assessment, the ACCUPLACER exam and ACT or SAT scores, the authors note how the thrown-together—and originally meant to be temporary—multiple measures assessment has had beneficial impacts not only on the student population but also for the college faculty. In chapter ten, “A Complement to Educational Reform: Directed Self-Placement (DSP) at Cochise College,” Erin Whittig of University of Arizona, Cathy Sander Matthesen of Cochise College, and Denisse Cañez of Cochise College reflect on the use of directed self-placement as the writing placement method over the course of the first eighteen months of the pandemic. During this time, it evolved from an emergency, pandemic-driven measure to a full pilot program. The final chapter of section three, “Community College Online Directed Self-Placement During the COVID-19 Pandemic” by Sarah Elizabeth Snyder, Sara Amani, and Kevin Kato of Arizona Western College, relays how pre-pandemic efforts to create a more equitable writing assessment option for the primarily multilingual student body unexpectedly became the main form of placement due to its online modality. After sharing their methodology, the authors also describe the early positive effects this method had on the placement of their students. Despite the pandemic-driven disruptions to the educational landscape being (to some extent) behind us, section three’s stories of quick pivots highlight how unexpected opportunities for positive reform should be grasped, and they provide examples of how these opportunities can be used to create space for equity and justice where it was previously pushed aside.

Writing Placement in Two-Year Colleges: The Pursuit of Equity in Postsecondary Education is a collection of various ways more equitable and just writing assessment and placement practices can be implemented. For those looking to start or further reform at their own two-year institution(s), this book is a great place to start. However, it does not portray these practices in a vacuum. This book calls attention to how writing placement and its effect on both students and faculty are “always part of a broader local assessment ecology that encompasses classroom assessment practices as well as sites like supplemental instruction for accelerated learning, writing centers, exit assessments for course sequences, and assessment practices that involve writing across the curriculum” (24). The work and research being done at two-year colleges is not done in isolation, but instead can inform practices at all educational levels. This book serves as encouragement, a guide, and a call for further change for anyone looking to pursue justice and equity in writing education.

Review of Robert L. Hampel’s Fast and Curious: A History of Shortcuts in American Education

By Rebecca Powell, University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast

Hampel, R. L. (2017). Fast and curious: A history of shortcuts in American education. Lanham, MA: Rowman & Littlefield.

Robert L. Hampel’s (2017) Fast and Curious: A History of Shortcuts in American Education traces the rise and fall of correspondence schools; book series; spelling, reading, and handwriting systems; and accelerated paths to university degrees as shortcuts. Readers may see parallels between these shortcuts and for-profit universities, online education, and time-to-degree initiatives. Hampel, however, seldom makes such connections (the exception: Trump University), preferring to identify the themes and beliefs that made these shortcuts seem like viable alternatives to traditional education.

Meticulously footnoted, Hampel’s text romps through America’s attempts to shortcut education in an engaging style with a wry sense of humor, making this a quick and necessary read, particularly for assessment scholars. It reminds readers that much of what is called innovation in higher education has antecedents, and that market forces and philanthropists have long tried to “fix” higher education through assessment.

Focused on market- and university-led shortcuts in the 19th and 20th centuries, the text is divided into two parts: faster-easier shortcuts and faster-harder shortcuts. In Part I, Hampel explores the initially popular and lucrative faster-easier shortcuts. Promising success and fulfillment and endorsed by the famous, such as Norman Rockwell, and the respected, such as late Harvard president Charles Eliot, faster-easier shortcuts relied on advertising and aggressive marketing to lure customers and boost profits (p. 46).

Chapter 1 charts the growth and decline of correspondence schools in the 20th century. Hampel illustrates how the reputation of these schools, staked on the names of famous artists and writers, fell as a result of bad press surrounding debt collections and an exposé of low graduation rates and uninvolved faculty, similar to recent ProPublica exposés on for-profit universities. This chapter offers insight into how a shortcut’s failure affects the lives and beliefs of its participants and serves as a reminder of the need to assess more than profitability.

The shortcuts explored in Chapter 2 sought to democratize elite culture by making its consumption more enjoyable. In his history of CliffsNotes, the popular plot summary booklets, Hampel notes these shortcuts do more than make the content of culture accessible; they also introduce users to the language associated with the cultural artifact (p. 61). The enduring popularity of shortcuts to culture and the critics of that popularity display the dissonance at the heart of Americans’ pursuit of education: the push and pull between enjoyment and effort.  

Unlike the faster-easier shortcuts, the faster-harder shortcuts of Part II promised to be cheaper and more efficient; however, they had few takers. Frequently backed by foundations, faster-harder shortcuts tried to shorten the time-to-degree and simplify the writing and reading of the English language.  

Time-to-degree shortcuts explored in Chapter 3 used writing assessment to grant credit for exams and life experience through early admittance, dual credit, exam credit, competency, accelerated school years, and abbreviated requirements. Parent expectations, the ubiquity of high school diplomas, and the demands of professional and graduate schools kept the traditional four-year degree mostly intact. Most endeavors to shorten college and university requirements resulted in more pathways and choices to education, but few led to shortening college for any significant number of students (p. 153). The enduring legacy of time-to-degree shortcuts can best be seen in the emphasis on exams meant to measure student readiness, aptitude, and competency, such as the ACT, SAT, AP, and CLEP.

Although the time-to-degree shortcuts detailed by Hampel found few volunteers, the shortcuts endured. Currently, they are enshrined in education policy by state legislatures who require dual credit offerings and are encouraged by corporate foundations, such as Complete College America, that suggest abbreviating credit requirements and granting credit for competency.

Hampel highlights the durability of the status quo in higher education and the continued quest for shortcuts to the promises of education. Both are maintained and created through assessment, including writing assessment. This text reminds writing assessment scholars and practitioners of the fraught role assessment plays in ensuring education fulfills its promise to students and society.

Review of Zachary Stein’s Social Justice and Educational Measurement: John Rawls, the History of Testing, and the Future of Education

By Sara Lovett, The University of Washington

Stein, Z. (2016). Social justice and educational measurement: John Rawls, the history of testing, and the future of education. 

In Social Justice and Educational Measurement: John Rawls, the History of Testing, and the Future of Education (2016), Zachary Stein critiques the American standardized testing enterprise and proposes reforms inspired by John Rawls’s philosophies of social justice. Though Stein does not speak specifically to writing assessment, writing program administrators (WPAs) and instructors will find Stein’s call for socially just assessment practices applicable to composition.

Throughout this volume, Stein applies John Rawls’s philosophy of social justice to the context of educational measurement in 21st century America. The arguments in this book stem from the premise that equity in education must be designed intentionally to create a fair environment for all students. A reader looking for a brief overview of John Rawls’s philosophies on social justice and the history of educational measurement would be served well by the introduction alone, but readers seeking recommendations for assessment reform will find value in subsequent chapters.

After introducing his modern approach toward Rawls’s philosophy, Stein reviews the interconnected history of measurement and social justice, providing context for the failure of current testing methods. WPAs seeking to reform current placement and testing practices will find detailed explanations of how educational measurement has been standardized in ways that discriminate against particular student populations. Stein’s writing in this first chapter and throughout the book is accessible to readers with minimal prior knowledge on educational philosophy yet useful to those who are more well-versed on the topic.

While most of this book is about approaches to measurement, Stein suggests in Chapter 2 that there are also curricular implications for Rawls’s theories. Extending Rawls’s ideas on civic education, Stein argues that schools play a role, either implicitly or explicitly, in forming what students’ value. This chapter makes a case for the importance of humanities education in a time when schools are increasingly focused on tests and outcomes. Writing instructors and WPAs may find this section useful in advocating for public-facing writing and the modern value of the humanities.

Readers who are unfamiliar with the history of assessment might consider jumping to Chapters 4 and 5, which elaborate on the origins of educational measurement as a form of (what was perceived to be) scientific, objective physical measurement, before returning to Stein’s argument in Chapter 3. Stein covers the origins of IQ tests through to their modern iterations, arguing that these tests fail to measure intelligence holistically and that college entrance tests like the SAT do not measure anything other than how to take the test. These chapters provide insightful context for WPAs who use standardized tests as placement measures for composition courses.

Readers might conclude by Chapter 3 that Stein is anti-testing, but they would be mistaken. Stein argues for reform rather than elimination of testing, stating that current practices reduce students to metrics and sacrifice fairness for the sake of efficiency. He advocates for a less standardized, more student-centered approach to socially just assessment, built on Rawls’s philosophies. Stein’s approach is aligned with directed self-placement and multiple-measures placement approaches, which are becoming more common in composition. As WPAs advocate for more socially just placement practices, they might draw on Stein’s rationale to support individualized assessment practices.

Applying Rawls to a modern context, Stein meditates on the role of technology in facilitating social justice in education in his closing chapter. He argues that new media offer the potential to work as catalysts for a more socially just education system but that without deliberate design, they may instead increase inequality due to unequal access to technology. Instructors and WPAs seeking to apply multimodal and new media approaches as well as ethical testing practices will find a compelling argument for carefully melding the two approaches in this chapter.

In 220 pages, Stein makes a provocative contribution to conversations on equity in education and socially just alternatives to standardized testing. While the book is not explicitly marketed to compositionists, WPAs and writing instructors invested in social justice in education will find this fresh application of Rawls’s philosophy relevant to the needs of 21st century students.

Review of Assessment, Equity, and Opportunity to Learn

By Anicca Cox, Michigan State University and Virginia M. Schwarz, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Moss, P. A., Pullin, D. C., Gee, J. P., Haertel, E. H., & Young, L. J. (Eds.). (2008). Assessment, equity, and opportunity to learn. Cambridge University Press.

Assessment, Equity, and Opportunity to Learn (Moss, Pullin, Gee, Haertel, & Young, 2008) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort to reframe learning during an era of high-stakes testing and accountability that persists today. Authors describe opportunity to learn (OTL) as access to the resources and environments that make learning possible. This means testing of any sort should be used for improvement, rather than ranking. Supported by the Spencer Foundation, this collection sought to broaden “traditional” psychometric conceptions of assessment that fail to account for the sociocultural and local factors of learning environments. Specifically, Moss and colleagues attempted to shift national conversations about assessment from individual student performance to issues of access and equity. To do so, contributors present historical and contemporary assessment approaches that explore context-specific questions, considerations, and affordances and constraints. Consequently, this collection works as an introductory resource for policy makers, educators, parents, and other stakeholders in understanding the complex processes of teaching and learning in K-12 contexts.

The book is organized into twelve chapters conceptually arranged first via histories of OTL schemas, both sociological and sociocultural; next, by examining particular themes—disabilities, cultural practices, community-centered, and gaming—and finally, retrieving earlier assessment models and considering instances of practical application in large and local scale assessments. Its final chapter articulates a set of principles for understanding OTL and reiterates the need for assessment to illuminate the “relationships, interactions, and contexts” of schooling environments to enhance those opportunities (pp. 11, 335).

Assessment, Equity, and Opportunity to Learn prefigures much of the work those of us who started teaching writing in the last 10 years are exposed to, consider, and incorporate into our classrooms. In what we might call the “assessment” turn in writing studies, our pedagogy and training has necessarily had to consider effective and, we hope, equitable ways to assess writing at the classroom, programmatic, and institutional level. We are accustomed to critical issues of inequity in assessment measures like standardized testing that disproportionately disadvantage learners with less access to dominant discourse structures. This last consideration finds voice in an overwhelming amount of literature from early works on developmental writers, to critical pedagogy, and through more recent, assessment-specific work like Race and Writing Assessment (Inoue & Poe, 2012) and the Journal of Writing Assessment’s special issue on “A Theory of Ethics for Writing Assessment” (Kelly-Riley, D., & Whithaus, 2016).

However, 10 years on, the “culture of evidence” (vii) climate this volume was responding to has, in many ways, failed to listen to the information on the ground from educators about teaching and learning. National and institutional performance-driven assessment mechanisms have continued to march forward with initiatives like the Common Core, and its paradigm has increasingly progressed into higher education. So, we find ourselves as teachers and writing studies professionals obligated now, more than ever, to guard students from top-down measures that do not adequately reflect their abilities and provide them with equitable opportunities to learn.

As an edited collection, Assessment, Equity, and Opportunity to Learn continues to provide writing studies with foundational ways to understand learning itself, specifically from sociocultural and psychometric frames that advocate for locally responsive, formative, and pragmatic assessments, over summative, performance-driven metrics. Moss et al. offer examples of classroom and programmatic strategies to assess learning effectively for students and teachers, not just for institutions and administrators. Community college faculty, in particular, and those working in academic success and pathways programs, might find this book valuable for understanding the uneven distribution of educational opportunities and the need for institutions to be flexible and responsive to the diverse body of students they serve. In other words, OTL can be leveraged to push back against deficit thinking (Delpit, 2012) and needs-based discourse (Crowley, 1998). From this perspective, poor classroom or test performance indicates a failure not on the part of individual students but because of ineffective educational design and assessment practices. Consequently, as the various authors illustrate via articles mapping their own institutional projects, assessment should inform institutional revision and change. Finally, for writing studies scholars and professionals who also wish to engage in institutional research, this collection provides an accessible way into frameworks such as sociology and anthropology that have become vital to cross-disciplinary collaborations and continue to influence many domains of educational research today.


Crowley, S. (1998). Composition in the university: Historical and polemical essays. University of Pittsburgh Press.

Delpit, L. D. (2012). “Multiplication is for white people”: Raising expectations for other people’s children. The New Press.

Inoue, A. B., & Poe, M. (Eds.). (2012). Race and writing assessment. Studies in composition and rhetoric (Vol. 7). Peter Lang.

Kelly-Riley, D., & Whithaus, C. (Eds.). (2016). A theory of ethics for writing assessment [Special issue]. Journal of Writing Assessment, 9(1). Retrieved from http://journalofwritingassessment.org/archives.php?issue=19

Moss, P. A., Pullin, D. C., Gee, J. P., Haertel, E. H., & Young, L. J. (Eds.). (2008). Assessment, equity, and opportunity to learn. Cambridge University Press.

Review of Retention, Persistence, and Writing Programs

By Alexis Piper, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Ruecker, T., Shepherd, D., Estrem, H., & Brunk-Chavez, B. (Eds.). (2017). Retention, persistence, and writing programs. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press.

Amidst the buzz of “growth mindset,” “grit,” “social resilience” and the like, it seems a kairotic moment for a conversation about how writing programs can contribute to student persistence and university retention efforts. Thus, the stage is set for Todd Ruecker, Dawn Shepherd, Heidi Estrem, and Beth Brunk-Chavez’s Retention, Persistence, and Writing Programs, which brings the ubiquitous conversations about student success to writing programs and writing teachers.

Part one of the book overviews how writing programs can participate in larger discussions of retention. The contributors explore a variety of themes, including: how WPAs can use their knowledge and experience to shape broader discussions of persistence and retention (Malenczyk); how collaboration between different university spheres can aid student retention and persistence efforts (Holmes and Busser); the possibilities and pitfalls of using big data to develop and assess retention efforts (Scott); the need for compensated professional development opportunities for faculty invested in retention and persistence (Giordano, Hassel, Heinert, and Phillips); the crucial role that first-year writing courses play in long-term academic success (Garrett, Bridgewater, and Feinstein); and how complex socio-economic, familial, and cultural factors negatively affect students’ persistence and retention (Webb-Sunderhaus).

Part two, which outlines high-impact practices writing teachers can implement to cultivate student retention and persistence, opens with a chapter by Pegeen Reichert Powell, whose early work on retention serves as a through-line for the entire book. Powell offers “kairotic classrooms” and Derrida’s conception of “absolute hospitality” as ways to redesign writing programs for student success. Part two goes on to explores how different universities encourage retention and persistence, including: CLASP (Critical Literacies Achievement and Success Program) at the Washington State University (Buyserie, Plemons, and Ericsson), the PlusOne program at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke (Chemishanova and Snead), and the Stretch Program at the Arizona State University’s (Snyder). In addition, supplemental instruction at a two-year campus (Harris), learning communities at a predominantly Hispanic-serving institution (Wolff Murphy and Hartlaub), and an undergraduate mentorship program at Northern Illinois University (Day, Gipson, and Parker) are all offered as ways to increase student persistence, engagement, learning, and retention. From an assessment point of view, it is worthwhile to consider how students are placed in courses and the aforementioned programs in the first place, and the bearing this placement has on student success.

Marc Scott’s contribution, “Big Data and Writing Program Retention Assessment,” is the most explicit connection to assessment in the collection and draws from recent trends emphasizing context, inquiry, and assessment’s intersections with race and socio-economic status. The chapter argues “that the most useful way for WPAs to consider Big Data in the context of graduation and retention rates is through the lens of current assessment scholarship” (p. 57). Besides Scott’s work, those interested in assessment can use the book as a source of invention for their own work, including, for example, research into the overlaps and disconnects between writing disposition, persistence, resistance, and success. Additionally, investigating how current assessment theory could help writing teachers and WPAs more concretely gauge students’ obstacles, persistence, and potential for retention are other possibilities for future work.

For me, the most memorable moment in the book comes when Reichert Powell suggests that “some students should leave… and it is not [our] business to prevent them from leaving” (p. 135). This emphasizes cultivating life-long persistence rather than retaining students for monetary reasons while also pointing out there are some things we can do to help students persist and “succeed”—and there are many factors beyond our control. Keeping limitations and possibilities in mind is one way we can both persist and resist in our professions—particularly when the stakes are so high, when the obstacles are often increasingly daunting for all, and when we are increasingly asked to do so much, as Retention, Persistence, and Writing Programs rightly points out.

Review of Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and the Advancement of Opportunity

By Sarah Klotz, University of Southern California

Poe, M., Inoue, A. B., & Elliot, N. (2018). Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and the Advancement of Opportunity. Perspectives on Writing. Fort Collins, Colorado: The WAC Clearinghouse and University Press of Colorado. Available at https://wac.colostate.edu/books/perspectives/assessment/

In this collection, Poe, Inoue, and Elliot bring together scholars from a wide spectrum of approaches for a comprehensive look into writing assessment for social justice aims. The book is divided into four sections: historiography, admission and placement, outcomes design, and teacher research. The editors provide structural support to make their ambitious project accessible to readers through an introduction to each chapter that summarizes the research problem, research question, literature review, methodology, conclusions, qualifications, and directions for further study. Poe, Inoue, and Elliot also include 18 assertions on writing assessment with commentary and an action canvas, which centers praxis as a primary concern of the volume. The strength of the book is its methodological scope. The editors make clear that the social justice imperative for writing assessment will take innovative, collaborative, and mixed-methods approaches to bring about the advancement of opportunity for students historically underserved in college writing contexts.

This resource is appropriate for both newcomers and advanced scholars in writing assessment, as the text encourages engagement through a single chapter or a cover-to-cover reading for those looking for a critique of writing assessment as a tool of injustice as well as ideas for action. In the introduction, the editors call for two key turns: the shift from elementalist reasoning to an ecological framework (p. 5) and the reorientation of validity studies toward justice (p. 16). While elementalist reasoning is never fully defined, I take the authors to mean assessment approaches that view translingual practices within deficit frameworks while emphasizing college writing as a set of discrete skills (i.e. correctness and knowledge of conventions) that will serve students in academic and professional settings (p. 19). In essence, elementalist stands in opposition to ecological. In the chapters that follow, these re-orientations become clear and actionable. The chapter authors demonstrate their unwillingness to balk in the face of entrenched systems of power even as they catalog the enormity of the structural changes required to reorient writing assessment towards social justice.

The volume emphasizes historiography and grounds the concerns of contemporary writing programs within a long history of oppressive writing assessment. The first section addresses assessment in the colonial context of the Philippines (Harms) as well as how notions of monolingual purity in the United States pathologize immigrant writers (Hammond). By opening with historiography, the editors provide an implicit schema for their emergent theory of socially just assessment. It becomes clear that, when our field relies on empirical notions of validity, we fail to account for how eugenics, anti-Black racism, and colonization inform and structure empirical methods. Later sections, particularly those that work with the more quantitative orientations of assessment studies, do not always return to these histories of Euro-American colonization and anti-Black racism. If there is one shortcoming that I would note in the volume, it is that the sections on admission and placement and outcomes design do not always achieve the ambitious goal of overlaying critical theory, historiography, and validity.

Another intervention that the volume undertakes is to provide specific examples of how critical methods inform writing assessment. The essay that most exemplifies the approaches that the editors demand is “The Violence of Assessment: Writing Assessment, Social (In)Justice, and the Role of Validation” (Chapter 7). Lederman and Warwick argue that validity studies have been increasingly concerned with the social consequences of assessment, but the empirical methodology underpinning validity and validation will not challenge existing paradigms without deep engagement with “feminist, queer, postcolonial, anti-racist traditions which actively seek to problematize historical power-relations” (p. 246). Other essays that are attuned to bridging critical identity studies with assessment methodologies are Chapter 8, on pervasive anti-Black racism in predominantly White institutions; Chapter 10, on the challenges of justice-oriented writing assessment at a tribal college with a predominantly Euro-American faculty; and Chapter 11, on attending to the emotional and physical safety of LGBTQ writers in writing centers and other assessment contexts.

While the task ahead for scholars and teachers of writing is monumental, this volume delineates theoretical and structural approaches with great promise to bring about the democratic aims of our writing programs through a reorientation to social justice in all of our assessment ecologies.