Towards the assessment of junior children's writing in the creative mode.

Cowley, Daphne (1985). Towards the assessment of junior children's writing in the creative mode. BPhil thesis The Open University.



The study charts three different attempts to assess children’s writing for its creativity in language with a view to introducing organization and a greater measure of objectivity into an area of subjective judgement.
The preface explains the needs for such procedures, such that they can be used in the classroom for the guidance of teachers and pupils. It also gives reasons for choosing three methods of assessment
(i) the semantic differential (Osgood,1957,1968)
(ii) focused holistic scoring (Greenhalgh,Townsend,1981)
(iii) personal statement (Patton,1980).

A review of the literature examines the tradition of literary appreciation, and considers the approaches that have been made towards children’s writing through impression marking, intellectual development, criterion referenced assessment and the development of writing skills. Following a pilot study involving four teachers (Chapter 3) the form of the semantic differential used to assess seven pieces of second year juniors’ writing was used again by thirteen teachers. The rank orders obtained showed a large measure of agreement but did not demonstrate reasons for discernment in detail.

Focused holistic scoring, which involves the description of score points which may be allotted to children’s writing by deciding in advance what features may arise and how far they are commendable, was carried out on twelve examples of fourth year juniors’ work by sixteen teachers. This procedure produced a more discerning response which demonstrated the demands of the teachers, which were made explicit in written comments which could be compared with the grading.
In the personal statements it was possible to isolate the most common and some individual demands likely to be made by teachers when assessing creative writing. The predominance, in practice, of the conviction that a personal, subjective response to creativity is valid and valuable cannot be ignored in any further attempts to encourage analytical judgement based on standards of excellence.

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