Standardized Testing Pressures and the Temptation of the Five-Paragraph Essay

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The pressures of high-stakes assessment have increased in recent years and are everywhere, whether one is teaching in a secondary school in China or in an intensive English program at a U.S. university. These pressures often wash back into the classroom, restricting the way writing is taught. We recently wrote in a collection focused on the politics of second language writing assessment, "Too often assessment policies are imposed on teacher and their classrooms by those removed from these contexts, leading to policies that negatively impact the teaching and learning process, often demoralizing teachers and students int he process" (Ruecker & Crusan, 2018, p. 1).

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