Writing assessment and social justice rely largely on success-trajectory narratives, which sideline productive failure as a means of resisting normative futurity-based modes of education and policy. This essay offers an alternative perspective on failure in writing assessment and social justice by illustrating how relying on rhetoric as a hope and means for positive change can undermine aims of social justice and a critical education. By examining the queer (non)possibilities for assessment and acceptance without dependence on constant improvement and success, instructors may find more inclusive ways of thinking about the value of rhetoric's role in a generative acceptance of difference.

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