Writing and pseudo-writing from Internet-based sources: Implications for learning and assessment










In recent years, plagiarism has been on the increase across the Western world. This article identifies Internet access as a contributory cause of this trend and addresses the implications of readily available Internet sources for the teaching and assessment of writing in schools. The basis for the article is a previous study showing a wide incidence of plagiarism in the Internet-based writing of students in three classes at upper secondary school level in Norway. I relate the students’ choices to writing as a cognitive process and as a cultural practice. My basic assumption is that the students’ writing is work. It is this work we have in mind when we relate writing to learning and when we assess students’ skills on the basis of their written texts. Access to the Internet changes the premises for this work because writing can be replaced by ‘pseudowriting’. ‘Pseudo-writing’ is a work reducing writing practice, which neither excludes nor coincides with what we traditionally associate with plagiarism in schools. The main point in this article is that when students have access to the Internet during essay writing, the result is unavoidably a product of both writing and pseudo-writing. Internet access thus leads to greater uncertainty about the role writing plays in student learning and makes it more difficult to take written assignments into account in assessing students’ schoolresults and effort



This is the accepted version of the following article: Skaar, H.(2015). Writing and pseudo-writing from Internet-based sources: Implications for learning and assessment. Literacy, 49(2), 69-76. doi: 10.1111/lit.12045, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/lit.12045.

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