In "Reimagining Literacy Assessment Through a New Literacies Lens", Forzani et. al (2020) highlight the potential and necessity of assessments influenced by new literacies. Specifically, they consider the internet and the many ways of "making meaning within and across varied sociocultural contexts made possible by this important digital context" (Coiro, 2020, p. 352). Forzani et. al (2020) acknowledges the importance of reliability as an assessment quality, but criticizes the means through which it has been achieved. They argue that the use of technocentric applications in the field of literacy assessment has ignored the complexities of new literacies that make it difficult to measure what it means to be literate with consistency. It is also noted that large-scale assessments assess traditional literacies that vary greatly in comparison to the literacies that exist outside of testing environments. Because schools value large-scale assessments, the literacies they measure become the literacies that are valued, taught, and assessed in schools. Forzani et. al (2020) propose four social values that should influence how practitioners reimagine assessment practices to from a New Literacies Lens.
Participatory cultures include technologies like email, chat, wikis, and social media platforms. Such technologies call for a shift in how and what we assess. Forzani et. al (2020) advocates for inviting students into the assessment process, giving them agency to co-construct knowledge and co-design their learning and assessing new social practices like strategies for participating in social communities and collaborating on ideas.
The rise of participatory, Forzani et. al (2020) writes, calls for greater criticality. Teaching students to navigate the variety of perspectives found online with a critical eye is an important aspect of developing new literacies. A traditional assessments lens may shy away from controversial issue found on social networking platforms like Twitter. A New Literacies lens will account for making a shift to assess students' ability to navigate multiple perspectives critically.
According to Forzani et. al (2020), "assessing with multiplicity in mind means that we must shift what we assess to include students' ability to engage with multiple practices, platforms, and modes in constantly changing contexts" (p. 354).
Forzani et. al (2020) claim that the internet calls for a tighter integration of reading and writing practice. They feel that reading and writing become a part of the same construct in reading and writing assessments. Therefore, both must be assessed together.
Grappling With Complexity
The authors conclude that these four factors suggest greater complexity. However, assessments informed by New Literacies encourage experiences that empower students to thrive in a digital age. This in turn enables them to thrive in their lives beyond the classroom.
Forzani, E., Corrigan, J.A. & Slomp, D. (2020). Reimagining Literacy Assessment through a New Literacies Lens. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 64(3), 351– 355. https://doi-org.cmich.idm.oclc.org/10.1002/jaal.1098