Assessing digital multimodal composing in second language writing : Towards a process-based model

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Original languageEnglish
Article number100710
Journal / PublicationJournal of Second Language Writing
Online published4 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


Research into digital multimodal composing highlights its potential effectiveness as an engaging, motivating, autonomy-enhancing, voice-enhancing and authentic activity for L2 writers. While considerable work has gone into developing and evaluating pedagogies for digital multimodal composing, one underresearched area is that of assessment. Given that the primary goal of digital multimodal composing is to develop competencies in multiple modes (including language) the question here is how to reflect this goal in the design of appropriate assessment criteria. In particular, teachers and researchers need to establish what dimensions of multimodal communicative competence to assess and how. In this paper, we present a case study of a university English for science course in which one of the assignments is a digital video scientific documentary. The study draws on interviews with teachers in order to determine how they conceive of the multimodal assessment task, including practical issues as well as challenges faced. The article proposes a process-based model for the assessment of digital multimodal composing, which shows how processes of instruction, design activity and assessment interact. Assessment can be planned at different stages of the design activity, draw on formative and summative strategies, and must take into account the orchestration of multimodal affordances.

Research Area(s)

  • Assessment, Multimodality, Digital video, Multimodal composing, English for specific purposes, Digital multimodal composing