Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Emily J. Isaacs

Committee Member

David Galef

Committee Member

Laura Nicosia


In this thesis, I identify issues with the existing PARCC exam’s ability to develop and assess skills that are considered essential for college- and career- readiness, as per the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and existing research. I examine the benefits and challenges associated with electronic portfolios as an alternative, more authentic means of assessment that develop not only the skills identified as college- and careerreadiness by the CCSS and research, but also digital rhetoric skills, which I argue are essential for true real world preparedness. Guiding this research are the following pivotal questions: How does the existing PARCC exam prepare students for college and careers? What possibilities do electronic portfolios have to teach/assess college- and career-ready writing, and specifically the commonly overlooked topic of digital rhetoric, and within our current CCR climate? What are the hazards and challenges of using electronic portfolios to teach/assess writing (in traditional and digital formats) within this climate? I answer these questions through a literature review and present my findings in five chapters: I explain the existing CCR climate in an introductory chapter; in Chapter Two, I identify issues with the PARCC exam; in Chapters Three and Four, respectively, I present the benefits and challenges associated with portfolios and, specifically, e-portfolios; then, in Chapter Five, I conclude that e-portfolios are most valuable when implemented at a local level and discuss further areas that must be researched surrounding the topic.

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