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OJELA, Fall/Winter 2019: Teaching in the Age of Accountability

Submission Deadline: October 15, 2019

Download the Call for Manuscripts ===> HERE

About This Issue’s Theme:

In Teaching as a Subversive Activity, writers Neil Postman and   Chris Weingartner tell teachers to “eliminate all restrictions that confine learners to sitting still in boxes inside of boxes.” The problem? Their critical work was published in 1969, before the current era of end of course exams and  teacher evaluation systems, making their criticism of modern school structures  all the more powerful. So, how can we be true to our pedagogical roots and help our students find their voice yet also meet the demands on us – and them – to quantify and demonstrate their learning in a systemic way?

In this issue of the Ohio Journal of English Language Arts, we explore creative ways that teachers have met assessment and accountability demands while still rooting their instruction in best practices designed to help students develop agency and ownership of their own learning. How can we meet increasingly centralized curricular demands while still meeting the individual needs of our students?

Some questions authors from this issue might address include:

  • How can we move beyond formulaic writing instruction designed as fool-proof ways to pass end-of-course exams?
  • How have teachers used district structures, such as PLCs or vertical teams, to improve and refine instruction?
  • How can teachers develop so-called “soft skills” that are not measurable but are, in fact, critical life skills?
  • How have teachers empowered students in the face of daunting testing requirements?
  • If it’s true that we measure what we value, how can we measure those things we value most in ELA?
  • How can teachers better use classroom, district, state or national tests to support student achievement?
  • How can teachers find time for content that is not critical to testing success?
  • What have educators learned through next-generation tests?
  • What have alternative assessments models, such as mastery or standards-based grading, helped us better understand about the assessment cycle?
  • What makes a good rubric? How do students learn differently when such a rubric is used?
  • How can we move our students beyond labels and levels that are imposed on them by outside testing?
  • How can we build teacher agency even while curriculum has become increasingly centralized?
  • How can we address implicit and inherent bias in testing?
  • How can we break down the boxes into which testing has forced our students?

Deadline for submission: October 15, 2019.

Questions about the current issue theme can be directed to:

Elizabeth Walsh-Moorman, OJELA Editor at

Types of Manuscripts Sought:
Feature Articles Manuscripts concerned with topics related to the issue theme. OJELA editors also welcome articles on any topic concerning language arts teaching at any level.
Teaching Matters Submissions focused on classroom strategies for teaching English language arts at any level, K-college. Submissions must be original teaching ideas. Descriptions of activities, practices, and procedures are welcome, but must be accompanied by rationale, explaining how methods were developed and used and for what purposes.
Conversations Extended interviews with teachers, researchers, teacher educators, policymakers, advocates, or others involved in the field of English language arts who do interesting work.
The Conference Room Table Submissions to this section capture the way professional development resources in the field are used in classrooms and in professional lives, to convey experiences that illustrate the significance of our professional literature. Submissions should be related to the issue theme.
Ohio Teachers Write Submissions of short fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry on any topic, in any genre.
Reviews Submissions that provide short reviews of any kind of resources for teaching English language arts, such as: books, media, software, websites, workshops, conferences, institutes, or learning communities, classroom materials, or professional development resources.
Reader Forum To encourage broader participation from readership, this venue is designed as a “letters to the editor” section of the journal–focusing on ideas related to articles published in the journal, featured themes, reader responses, or ideas in the field of English language arts teaching in general.