writing and the use of sources; analysis

Reading Guide for Les Perelman: “Information Illiteracy and Mass Market Writing Assessments”

Use this guide as you read. Answer the italicized questions.

Perlman opens with a story of coaching students to be successful on the writing portion of the SAT exam. His advice worked.

What is wrong with the quoted paragraph one student wrote? Have you taken one of these essay exams? Do you feel they were a good evaluation of your writing skills, or do you agree with Perlman that the tests are not good assessment?

On the bottom of page 129 through 131, Perlman begins to discuss the problem with these tests that his article will address.

What is “information illiteracy?” What is “information literacy.” How information literate are you?

The section titled “Data Smog” is key for this class. In m any ways, the EN 101 curriculum was designed to help students with Data Smog. As we research this semester, we will talk a lot about data smog and its consequences.

What is data smog? How does preparing for the SAT writing exam not help students deal with data smog Can you describe a time when you felt its effects (in school or out of school).

The next section is a long section that describes in details different writing exams (for the sat, AP tests etc.). Through the end of page 137, the section detailing how these tests, by design and in their measurement, encourage information illiteracy.

What are some of the problems with sources the tests asks students to draw from? What are some problems with the exam prompts? How do the sources and exam prompts encourage bad habits in students as they prepare for the tests?

At the end of page 137, Perlman discusses why the tests are designed the way they are designed.
On the middle of page 138, he discusses what an alternative test might look like (one that could really test information literacy skills).

Does this test sound harder or more interesting than the SAS and AP writing tests? What would be harder about it? More interesting?


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