Reviewed by Jeanne Law Bohannon

Neal, Michael (2011). Writing assessment and the revolution in digital texts and technologies. New York: Teachers' College Press.


In my experience, I have found few other words that strike fear into first-year composition instructors than "assessment." As a doctoral candidate at Georgia State University, I (and my fellow graduate students) face the perils and opportunities of assessment daily as we navigate our ways through first year writing spaces while we develop our emerging pedagogies.
Fortunately for us, and even for seasoned teaching veterans (our mentors) in the field of composition, we have advocates like Michael Neal. In his recent book, Writing Assessment and the Revolution in Digital Texts and Technologies, Neal provides an in-depth evaluation of social and educational issues surrounding first-year writing assessment and the writing programs that drive associated learning outcomes. Janet Swenson writes an engaging forward, told through her own evaluation of digital writing. Swenson is known for her research in undergraduate teaching best practices and for her protocol, Collaborative Responses to Teaching Demonstrations, in which she analyzes specific teaching strategies and gives recommendations for improvement. Swenson's forward sets the tone for Neal's two-part text, which begins with a personal narrative from Neal's own teaching experience with negotiating digital texts produced by students.