First Things First

Years ago, I attended a writing workshop with Tom Jenks and Carol Edgarian. Now I don’t even remember how I decided to go to this workshop, but I knew it was the right place for me when I learned that Anna Karenina (this translation) and Aristotle’s Poetics were among the required reading for the week.Now I’m […]

In Defense of Quality

If you cannot learn to love real art, at least learn to hate sham art. This, from William Morris. By “real art,” let’s say James Lesesne Wells, for example, and by “sham art,” let’s say Thomas Kinkade.  I’d like to apply this sentiment to the work of writing, and more specifically, to the work of […]

You Gets What You Pays For

A friend forwarded this ad from a freelance job website: Looking for 200 multiple choice trivia questions on the subject of Easter. Questions must be divided into ten different topics, each with an easy and hard section. All sections must have the same number of questions. Looking to spend no more than $30 on this, […]

Fun with Point Biserials

A few weeks ago, I was spending a lot of time analyzing test data, specifically, the p values and pt. biserials of a set of English language arts tests for grades 3 through 11, in order to determine What Went Wrong. In the preponderance of cases, of course, nothing went wrong. The items performed more […]


Today I got a shout-out asking about a practice to be employed in a classroom assessment, and it got me thinking about classroom assessments. In this business, we think of classroom assessments as informal and low- to no-stakes, meaning that there will be no decisions made about student promotion/retention, and that there is no teacher/school/district […]