Inoue, Asao B. (2023). Cripping Labor-Based Grading for More Equity in Literacy Courses. WAC Clearinghouse and University Press of Colorado. 

Copy edited by Caitlin Kahihikolo, designed by Mike Palmquist.

Writing in response to recent work by Kathleen Kryger, Griffin X. Zimmerman, and Ellen C. Carillo, Asao B. Inoue offers an expanded and compassionate discussion of labor-based grading, a practice that involves negotiating a set of classroom agreements with all of the students in a course to determine how much labor will be expected of students and how it will be accounted for or identified to earn particular final course grades. Inoue focuses his exploration of labor-based grading by asking, “How can labor-based grading evolve so that it addresses the concerns around inequitable access to or expectations of labor that students with disabilities, neurodivergencies, illnesses, or limited time in the semester may face?” The result is a thoughtful re-examination and re-thinking of labor-based grading in writing courses.

Inoue, Asao B. (2021). Above The Well: An Antiracist Literacy Argument From A Boy Of Color. WAC Clearinghouse and Utah State University Press (an imprint of University Press of Colorado).

Copy edited by Karen Pierce, designed by Mike Palmquist.

In Above The Well, Asao Inoue explores race, language and literacy education through a combination of scholarship, personal history, and even a bit of fiction. Inoue comes to terms with his own languaging practices in his upbring and schooling, while also arguing that there are racist aspects to English language standards promoted in schools and civic life. His discussion includes the ways students and everyone in society are judged by and through tacit racialized languaging, which he labels White language supremacy and contributes to racialized violence in the world today. Inoue’s exploration ranges a wide array of topics: his experiences as a child playing Dungeons and Dragons with his twin brother; considerations of Taoist and Western dialectic logics; the economics of race and place; tacit language race wars waged in classrooms with style guides like Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style; and the damaging Horatio Alger narratives for people of color. NOTE: All proceeds generated by the WAC Clearinghouse and all author royalties from sales of this book will be donated to the Asao and Kelly Antiracist Teaching Endowment.

You can read through chapter two of this book for free at the WAC Clearinghouse site


Inoue, Asao B. (2022/2019). Labor-Based Grading Contracts: Building Equity and Inclusion in the Compassionate Writing Classroom. 2nd edition. University Press of Colorado and WAC Clearinghouse.

Copy edited by Don Donahue, designed by Mike Palmquist

First edition nominated for 2020 NCTE David H. Russell Award for Distinguished Research in the Teaching of English

In Labor-Based Grading Contracts, Asao B. Inoue argues for the use of labor-based grading contracts along with compassionate practices to determine course grades as a way to do social justice work with students. He frames this practice by considering how Freirean problem-posing led him to experiment with grading contracts and explore the literature on grading contracts. Inoue offers a robust Marxian theory of labor that considers Hannah Arendt's theory of labor-work-action and Barbara Adam's concept of "timescapes." The heart of the book details the theoretical and practical ways labor-based grading contracts can be used and assessed for effectiveness in classrooms and programs. Inoue concludes the book by moving outside the classroom, considering how assessing writing in the socially just ways he offers in the book may provide a way to address the violence and discord seen in the world today.

Mya Poe, Inoue, Asao B., and Norbert Elliott (eds.). (2018) Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and The Advancement of Opportunity. University Press of Colorado and WAC Clearinghouse.

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Nominated for 2020 CWPA Best Book Award for an Edited Collection

This edited collection provides the first principled examination of social justice and the advancement of opportunity as the aim and consequence of writing assessment. Contributors to the volume offer interventions in historiographic studies, justice-focused applications in admission and placement assessment, innovative frameworks for outcomes design, and new directions for teacher research and professional development. Drawing from contributors' research, the collection constructs a social justice canvas—an innovative technique that suggests ways that principles of social justice can be integrated into teaching and assessing writing. The volume concludes with 18 assertions on writing assessment designed to guide future research in the field. Written with the intention of making a restorative milestone in the history of writing assessment, Writing Assessment, Social Justice, and the Advancement of Opportunity generates new directions for the field of writing studies. This volume will be of interest to all stakeholders interested in the assessment of written communication and the role of literacy in society, including advisory boards, administrators, faculty, professional organizations, students, and the public.

Inoue, Asao B. (2015). Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for A Socially Just Future. Fort Collins: Parlor Press/WAC Clearinghouse.

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Winner of the 2017 CCCC Outstanding Book Award for a monograph
Winner of 2015 CWPA Best Book Award

In Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies, Asao B. Inoue theorizes classroom writing assessment as a complex system that is "more than" its interconnected elements. To explain how and why antiracist work in the writing classroom is vital to literacy learning, Inoue incorporates ideas about the white racial habitus that informs dominant discourses in the academy and other contexts. Inoue helps teachers understand the unintended racism that often occurs when teachers do not have explicit antiracist agendas in their assessments. Drawing on his own teaching and classroom inquiry, Inoue offers a heuristic for developing and critiquing writing assessment ecologies that explores seven elements of any writing assessment ecology: power, parts, purposes, people, processes, products, and places.

Inoue, Asao B., and Poe, Mya (editors). (2012). Race and Writing Assessment. New York: Peter Lang.

Winner of the 2014 CCCC Outstanding Book Award for an Edited Collection

Race and Writing Assessment brings together established and up-and-coming scholars in composition studies to explore how writing assessment needs to change in order to account for the increasing diversity of students in college classrooms today. Contributors identify where we have ignored race in our writing assessment approaches and explore issues related to assessment technologies, faculty and student responses to assessment, institutional responses to writing assessment, and contexts for assessing writing beyond composition programs. Balancing practical advice and theoretical discussions, Race and Writing Assessment provides a variety of models, frameworks, and research methods to consider writing assessment approaches that are sensitive to the linguistic and cultural identities that diverse students bring to writing classrooms. This book illustrates that there is no one-size-fits-all model for addressing diversity in assessment practices but that assessment practices attuned to racial diversity must be rooted in the contexts in which they are found. In doing so, Race and Writing Assessment enriches contemporary research on contextualized approaches to writing assessment.


This information and resources on this page are offered for free in order to engage language and literacy teachers of all levels in antiracist work and dialogue. The hope is that it will help raise enough money to do more substantial and ongoing antiracist work by funding the Asao and Kelly Inoue Antiracist Teaching Endowment, housed at Oregon State University. Read more about the endowment on my endowment page. Please consider donating to the endowment. Thank you for your help and engagement.