Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and the Advancement of Opportunity.
Mya Poe, Asao B. Inoue, and Norbert Elliot (2018). Fort Collins, Colorado: The WAC Clearinghouse and University Press of Colorado, 429 pp., ISBN 978-1-64215-015-5
Reviewed by Qiudong LI & Longxing LI
Social justice is about the fair relationship among individuals and the equal distribution of resources in social systems, including educational systems (Poe & Inoue, 2016). If social systems ‘work against entire groups of people to maintain the unequal distribution of opportunity, wealth, and justice’ (p. 3), social injustice will occur. Take writing as an example, if it is assessed in a system which subverts students’ opportunity to learn due to race, gender, language background, and other social axes, marginalized students will suffer unjust assessment. While some myopic studies are blind to the unequal social systems which resulted in minority students’ failure in writing, Poe and Inoue (2016) have taken the first step to make voices for justice-oriented assessment heard in their guest-edited special issue of College English, enacting the social justice turn in writing assessment scholarship. Following this endeavor, Poe, Inoue, and Elliot’s newly edited volume Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and the Advancement of Opportunity is another recent action taken to address the question of ‘How can we ensure that writing assessment leads to the advancement of opportunity?’ (p. 4, emphasis original). Understanding better what unjust social systems are and how to eradicate social injustice in writing assessment, writing program administrators (WPAs), writing assessment scholars, writing instructors, and research students in this field may find this book thought-provoking and forward-looking.