Comprehending Through Composing: Reflections on Reading Assessment Strategies
The assignment to comment on the four chapters in this section, which present interestingly distinctive perspectives on the conference topic, is both engaging and challenging. The engagement springs from the depth of the ideas, the challenge from the task of molding the ideas into a coherent image. To ad-dress this task, we rely on three relatively standard lenses, and introduce a fourth that is less typical. Three constructs spring from the conference focus and the recent history of comprehension assessment: comprehension, (re) construction, and assessment. The fourth theme, composition, reflects our recent research, but, somewhat to our surprise, also emerged during the conference. Toward the end of the conference, for instance, Dick Anderson suggested that researchers might consider shifting attention from reading comprehension to literacy comprehension. Such a move is consonant with our thinking about the issues, and meshes with the increasingly important concept of academic language (Fillmore-Wong & Snow, 2000). Our chapter begins with brief reflections on the four lenses, continues with comments on the four chapters, and concludes by illustrating our recent efforts to engineer the reading-writing connection.