1. In this book, I use the term Standardized Edited American English (SEAE) to denote the kind of discourses typically promoted and valued in academic settings in the way that Greenfield (2011) and other linguists use the term. My use of this term, SEAE, highlights the superficial and typographical features of text, which often are characterized by particular conventions of grammar and punctuation. I realize SEAE is not singular but varied and multiple, slightly different at each site and classroom. Additionally, I use “standardized” and not “Standard” to emphasize, like Greenfield, the local brand of English valued in a writing assessment as not inherently the correct version of English, but one actively made standard. There is no single preferred or correct version. There are only versions promoted and made standard by their use in writing assessments. Thus I often use the term local SEAE.
2. Throughout this book, I make a distinction between a local SEAE and a local dominant discourse promoted in a writing classroom. Beyond conventions of grammar and punctuation, a dominant discourse, which is the broader term, also includes particular rhetorical moves that are typically judged as acceptable within the community that uses the discourse. The discourse of summary and engaging in academic conversations that Graff and Birkenstein (2014) offer in their popular text, They Say/I Say, is a good example of a text that focuses on explaining and showing the rhetorical moves that make up part of a dominant discourse. Conventions within local SEAEs certainly intersect within this dominant discourse, and their text may even influence such SEAEs.
3. Catherine Prendergast (1998) makes a similar argument about composition studies generally.
4. I thank Tom Fox for bringing this important point to my attention.
5. Omi and Winant (1994) define racial projects as projects in society that create or maintain racial groups, identities, or categories in some way. They link racial projects to the function of hegemony (pp. 55-56, 68). Racial projects could be racist (those that contribute to racial hierarchies and subordination) or work against such categorizing by race.
6. According to today’s U.S. common sense, for a language practice to be efficient and effective, it would need concision, which SEAE doesn’t always have. Take the use of articles and plural endings that cause many L2 speakers difficulty. Oftentimes, they simply are not needed to communicate an idea. For instance, “I walked the dog around the block three times” (nine words, 36 characters) conforms to most local SEAEs, but a more concise and still communicative way to say this could be, “I walked dog around block three time” (seven words, 30 characters).
7. For a fuller discussion of remediation and its institutional construction and reification, see Soliday (2002) and Stanley (2009). For a related summary of the field of basic writing, see Otte and Mlynarczyk (2010). For an important complication and rethinking of who the basic writer is, see Horner and Lu’s (1999) important collection, which also prefigures their work on translingual approaches (Horner & Trimbur, 2002; Horner et al., 2011) that they advocate. All these scholars reveal associations between the concept of remediation with the body of color.
8. While the Asian-American population is mostly Hmong, I realize that the figures shown also include other Asian-American formations, but this is how California State University reports EPT results. When I’ve looked more closely at just the Hmong formation, the remediation rates are even higher. According to Fresno State’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, the average remediation rate for all Hmong students at Fresno State between 2007-2012 was 77% of the population.
9. The famous motto originated during Chavez’ 25 day fast in Phoenix, Arizona in 1972. He and Dolores Huerta coined the phrase (Rodriquez, 1998).
10. For a discussion of the way race is an historically changing concept, see Hannaford (1996); for a discussion of an instance of a racial formation that changes, see Ignatiev’s (1995) discussion in How the Irish Became White; and for a discussion of the way race is an historically changing construct that produces racial hierarchies and categories, see Omi and Winant (1994).
11. I realize that Bonilla-Silva’s sociological work on racial frames comes from frame analysis, a methodology created by Erving Goffman (1974). Goffman’s methodology attempts to explain the way people organize experience into conceptual frames, like a picture frame. A frame in Goffman’s terms is a set of conceptual terms (concepts) and theoretical perspectives that then structure and influence actions. To be clear, I’m simply cherry-picking from Bonilla-Silva’s frames, and because he speaks in terms of the language used that articulate racial attitudes, his frames amount to rhetorical tropes, rhetoric. Villanueva (2006) also identifies such “new racist” language through the use of four kinds of tropes that come from Burke (i.e., metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony), which amount to Bonilla-Silva’s racial frames (Villanueva even references Bonilla-Silva).
12. For key discussions on whiteness, see Lipsitz’ (1998) discussion on the way whiteness is connected to and supports a whole range of social projects, such as immigration, labor, white desire, and identity politics; see Roediger (1991) for the ways whiteness is connected historically to wage labor in the U.S.; see Munro (2004) for a summary of scholarship on whiteness that connects it to antiracist Marxism and Black antiracist traditions; and see Myser (2003) on the ways whiteness affects bioethics research and classrooms.
13. Brookhiser (1997) identifies the following traits as those of the WASP: a Protestant conscience that often functions from seeing truth (optically) and guilt if truth is ignored (p. 16-17); civic-mindedness that prioritizes society as a whole, and demonizes groups or special interests (p. 18-19); an anti-sensuality that constructs sensual pleasures or enjoyment as bad or wrong (p. 21); a focus on industry that places a value on doing work, which is often connected to capitalism (p. 17); a valuing of use, which says that everything and everyone must be useful for something (p. 19); and success, or the “outward and visible signs of grace” (p. 18).
14. The directed self-placement at Fresno State was designed after the one at Grand Valley State University and discussed by Royer and Gilles (1998; 2003).
15. To see a study of grading practices in the Fresno State writing program, see Inoue (2012a); to see the validation study of the DSP along racial formations in the program, see Inoue (2009a); to see a fuller discussion of the failure rate changes after changing course writing assessments (grading systems), see Inoue (2014b). All show one thing: how various racial formations’ are constructed through writing assessments as racial projects.
16. The National Poverty Center (2014) at the University of Michigan explains that the threshold for poverty in the U.S. for a two adult household with one child is $17,552, two children is $22,113, and three is $26,023. For a single parent household with one child the threshold is $15,030, and for two children it is $17,568.
17. It is worth noting that the Kingdom of Thailand is the only nation in Southeast Asia not to have been colonized by either France or Great Brittan. So to U.S. Americans’ eyes of the 1950s, the Siam of the 1860s is an ideal place to imagine white-Asian racial relations.
18. I find the title of the film The King and I to be particularly telling, as it reveals clearly the primary subject(ivity) of the film. It isn’t the king, nor his children, but the white female teacher, sent to educate, who is the subject of the film. It is her story. And this seems analogous to our writing classrooms and their assessments. The dominant subject(ivity) of the assessment ecology, the central habitus, is a white one, perhaps a white female one. The vast majority of writing teachers at Fresno State are white females, and this has been the case at every college and university at which I’ve taught (three other state universities and one community college).
19. The 18 clans represented at Fresno State are: Cha, Chue, Cheng, Fang, Hang, Her/Herr/Hue, Khang, Kong, Kue, Lee/Le/Ly/Lyfoung, Lor/Lo, Moua/Mouanatoua, Pha,Thao/Thor, Vang, Vue/Vu, Xiong, Yang.
20. These are the terms the NCES uses.
21. Validity refers to a judgment that explains the adequacy of an assessment’s decision. Samuel Messick (1989) provides perhaps the most definitive treatment of the concept and its procedures (validation), and defines validity as: “an integrated evaluative judgment of the degree to which empirical evidence and theoretical rationales support the adequacy and appropriateness of inferences and actions based on test scores or other modes of assessment” (p. 13, his emphasis). As one can see, validity is an argument, as several have argued already (Cronbach, 1988; Kane, 1992; Shepard, 1993), and so it is a rhetorical process (Inoue, 2007).
22. CSU’s Division of Analytic Studies separates the category of “Asian-American” from “Pacific Islander” and Filipino, thus these students are certainly mostly Hmong students. As a comparison, the remediation rate for whites entering Fresno State in Fall 2011 was only 25.3%, Mexican Americans was 58.5%, and African-Americans was 58.9%.
23. I am mindful of one concern of assessment ecologies that define course grades by labor. Students who work and go to school, or who have complex family obligations that take up much of their time may be at a disadvantage. But as those in travel and mobility studies (a field that looks at the processes, structures, and consequences of people’s movement across time and geography) remind us, people may do all kinds of labor and work as they move from bus to park, to job, or from home to school to wherever. I thank Tom Fox for this reminder.
24. I realize that many students work outside of school, take care of family members, and have other constraints on their time, so not all students have the same amount of free time. These limitations can be negotiated with each class since they will be different for each class.
25. I realize the there is no indication that Lindsey is white, but the whiteness I reference here is not a white skin privilege, rather a white habitus associated with her dispositions in language.
26. Lester Faigley (1989) offers a concise way to think about Althusser’s interpellation that is helpful here:
discourses interpellate human beings by offering them an array of subject positions that people recognize, just as when a person turns when someone shouts “hey, you.” The term subject contains a pun. People are subjected to dominant ideologies, but because they recognize themselves in the subject positions that discourses provide, they believe they are subjects of their own actions. The recognition, therefore, is a misrecognition because people fail to see that the subject positions they occupy are historically produced, and they imagine that they are freely choosing for themselves. (p. 403)
27. I realize we are not talking about liberation in the same ways as Freire may have, but I believe that providing students ways to problematize their existential writing assessment situations is a form of liberation from the hegemonic in the assessment of their writing.
28. In the places I cite from the prison notebooks, Gramsci provides historical analyses by invoking Lenin’s Theses on Feuerbach and Marx and Engel’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, The Civil War of France, and Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany. He makes his own analysis in section VIII (2000, pp. 249-274).
29. It should be noted that through the dialectical term base, Gramsci extends the traditional concept of economic base to include the moral, ethical, and cultural aspects and practices of civil society (2000, pp. 194-195), which he describes as “ethico-political,” a term from the Italian idealist philosopher Benedetto Croce.
30. In The Interpretation of Dreams, Freud (1913) explains overdetermination as a confluence of “dream thoughts,” in which “[e]very element of the dream content turns out to be over-determined—that is, it enjoys a manifold representation in the dream thoughts” (par. 13). Later in the same chapter, he discusses the term by considering the dream of the neurotic character: “Hence emotions in the dream appear as though formed by the confluence of several tributaries, and as though over-determined in reference to the material of the dream thoughts; sources of affect which can furnish the same affect join each other in the dream activity in order to produce it” (par. 266). Contrast this with Marxian determination that has both constraints and pressure toward some hegemonic end. The hegemonic appears not to be a part of Freudian overdetermination.
31. Black, Daiker, Sommers, and Stygall (1994) found that white female student reflections tended to be judged more highly in portfolios at Miami University. At Fresno State, Hmong female student reflections also were rated by judges more highly than their male counterparts (Inoue & Richmond, in press).
32. The average EPT scores for Hmong students during 2007-12 was 134 for males, and 135 for females. The cut score that determined remediation is 147.
33. I discuss the contract’s focus on labor in detail in Inoue (2014a) and in Chapter 4 for my own classroom. I also discuss the labor model next to quality models of failure from empirical data from the Fresno State program in Inoue (2014b).
34. The study was conducted by nine graduate students (Meredith Bulinski, Jocelyn Stott, Megan McKnight, Sharla Seidel, Andy Dominguez, and Maryam Jamali, Holly Riding, Adena Joseph, and Patrice Isom) and myself in a graduate seminar of mine in the spring of 2008, then presented at CCCC in 2009. The session was titled, “‘Shit-plus,’ ‘AWK,’ ‘Frag,’ and ‘Huh?’: An Empirical Look at a Writing Program’s Commenting Practices” and the study was presented by Meredith Bulinski, Jocelyn Stott, Megan McKnight, Sharla Seidel, Andy Dominguez, and Maryam Jamali. The video they produced for that conference session can be found at: .
35. All EPT scores discussed here are taken from CSU’s Analytic Studies Website (CSU, Division of Analytic Studies, 2013).
36. I use subaltern as a term to identify individuals of a particular social formation (not class) that is subordinate to other formations, realizing that in much critical and post-colonial theory, the subaltern is often defined as one who is outside the hegemonic, excluded; however, one who is subordinate is inside the hegemonic power structures, since subordination is a relative concept. I use the term more closely to its original reference in the British military, which identified officers of lower rank, relative to a higher ranking officer. This appears to be in line with Gramsci’s own use of the term. Morton (2007) explains that in Prison Notebooks, Gramsci uses the term to “denote subordinate groups such as the rural peasantry in Southern Italy, whose achievement of social and political consciousness was limited and their political unity weak.” As a subaltern, the rural peasantry had not become conscious of their “collective economic and social oppression as a class,” not like the industrial proletariat of Italy had (Morton, 2007, p. 96). Thus subaltern is not referencing a class but rather a more loose-knit social formation, like students, or even Hmong students at Fresno State. Additionally, one is not simply subaltern or not. There are degrees of subalternity.
37. For instance, the first edition of Blumenbach’s On The Natural Varieties of Mankind (1775) contained only four racial categories by geography: people from (1) Europe; (2) Asia, the Ganges river, and parts of North America; (3) Africa; and (4) North America. The second edition (1781) contained five categories by geography: people from (1) Europe, including North India, North Africa, North America; (2) Asia and beyond the Ganges river; (3) Africa, except for North Africa; (4) America, and (5) the southern world, such as the Philippines. And the third edition (1795) contained five refined, abstract categories: (1) Caucasians; (2) Mongolians; (3) Ethiopians; (4) Americans; and (5) Malays.
38. It should be noted that technically, Blumenbach’s Caucasians are geographically located in Asia (Middle East) around Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia, not Europe, which indicates Blumenbach’s and others’ need to locate the norm in a white European center.
39. I use the racial codes and terms used by Fresno State and its Office of Institutional Effectiveness when citing their findings or information, otherwise I use my own. For instance Fresno State tends to use “Hispanic,” while I prefer “Latino/a,” which by in large refers to Chicano or Mexican-American.
40. Twitter has been helpful in other ways. For example, it’s helpful in understanding the general labor patterns of the class, when students do work for our class most often, and who has more trouble with the labor than others. Knowing these patterns has helped me think about what assignments will be more productive, helpful, and doable than others. It does make some students feel a bit vulnerable, since it can make their labors more present, more noticeable to everyone. I try hard to let students know that when they do labor for our class is not important to me, but that they do it, how long they do it, and the spirit in which they do it (are they trying to engage and learn?) are more important. Additionally, as discussed in Chapter 3, I’ve found asking students to quantify both the duration of their labor sessions each week and the level of engagement in sessions (usually with a simply rating) in simple spreadsheets can help us reflect more carefully in our journals.
41. I discuss elsewhere (Inoue, 2004) one version of the way inductively built rubrics can be done and can function. The difference in the present class is that I built two rubrics: one based on expectations for the project’s artifact, and one on the labor expectations of those artifacts.
42. I discuss these three questions as central to my ideal course in another place (Inoue, 2014a).
43. Recently, I have considered adding an “incomplete” category that tabulates assignments done and turned in on time (so not late) but not done according to the assignment guidelines. The initial contract might begin with a “B” grade having two or fewer “incomplete” assignments. However, in this class a few students initially, as usual, turned in assignments that were incomplete. If it was in the first two weeks of the semester, particularly if it was the first instance of a certain kind of assignment, then I didn’t count the assignment as late, but did talk with the student about expectations and meeting guidelines.
44. Ironically, yes, A’s do mean less (are meaningless) as indicators of progress and quality, as most of the research on grades in writing classes demonstrate.
45. While Spidell and Thelin do not discuss their findings in terms of white racial student formations, I analyze their methods and show how one might reasonably see their conclusions concerning mostly white, Midwestern students from Ohio (Inoue, 2012b).
46. When quoting students’ writing, I have preserved all spellings and punctuation, not correcting things, except in the most obvious cases where there is clearly a typo. When getting permission to use each student’s work for this book, I asked them to look at their quoted material and make sure I have not misrepresented them, or corrected a typo that shouldn’t be.
47. While Kyler, like Zach, participates in a white racial formation, both did not always demonstrate in their writing a white racial habitus that the writing program expected. This may be why both had misgivings about their past experiences with grades in their writing courses. They mostly deviated in their uses of the local SEAE, while most of their other dispositions were close to a white racial habitus.
49. Ashe is a pseudonym, which the student chose.
50. Assuming one, unified audience, with a singular habitus makes sense given the conventional ways that writing has been evaluated and graded in schools. There is usually only one teacher, and she is the only reader and evaluator of student writing, therefore, no matter what an assignment sets up as its audience(s), students know that there is really only one, singular audience, the teacher. No other habitus (or set of dispositions) for reading and evaluating their writing matters.
51. Interestingly, Lyna’s use of cooking problematizes Plato’s own description of the rhetoric of the Sophists as “cookery” (a “knack” or “flattery,” containing no substance) in Gorgias.
52. I had only one multilingual male student, a student who was Southeast Asian from India. He entered the course late, missing the first two weeks of class, and participated minimally in the course. His work schedule often got in the way of class and his labor, so he struggled to even complete mundane, daily labor. Thus I cannot make many observations about his orientation to the assessment ecology, except that it was not articulated very clearly or abundantly.
53. Gideon claims white as his racial identity, but has a middle name that is historically Filipino.
54. I conducted this survey for a writing across the curriculum program project in which I first met with the Hmong Student Association on campus, explained the survey and project on Hmong writing practices, then conducted the anonymous survey through an online service. The project culminated in a 2013 CCCC presentation, “The Construction of Hmong Masculinity in Fresno State University’s Writing (and Other) Classrooms.” That presentation was first vetted by several members of the Hmong Student Association, and in Fall 2013, I presented it and the full survey results to the Hmong Student Association.
55. In the course, I introduced stasis theory early so that we had that language. I used excerpts from Crowley and Hawhee’s textbook, Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students (2008), in which they define four stases: questions of conjecture, definition, quality, and policy (p. 86). For simplicity I collapsed the first two, conjecture and definition into questions or claims of “fact.” This made sense to my students.
56. Pageen Richert Powell (2013) makes this very argument from the literature on retention, first arguing that most first-year writing students will not need to learn academic discourse (half leave the university and most of the other half take careers outside academia), then offering a “kairotic pedagogy” that teaches students writing they can use now in their lives (p. 118).
57. In retrospect, I should have helped them critique this subject position of mine. I was a remedial reading student, in many ways less capable than many of them in the room. I was a poor student of color from North Las Vegas, the ghetto. I had told them about my educational past already, so these facts wouldn’t have been new, but don’t they matter to me as a reader and judge of texts?