A move from 'product' to 'process' which is ironic since at the time, according to Carter's book The Way Literacy Lives, moved all high schoolers to 'product' only assessment.
As far as who is a basic writer, it seems that, historically speaking, the 1980's defines the basic writer as any student who underperforms on their assessment exams (19). Although I'm sure countless scholars would disagree with that statement, the inclusion of assessment testing in the secondary and university level, and the resulting labels (remedial, underperforming, etc.) seem to support this notion.
The scholars of the era include:
Mike Rose: “Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language: A Cognitive Analysis of Writer's Block” CCC (1980)
Linda Flower: “Writer-Based Prose: A Cognitive Basis for Problems in Writing” College English (1979)
Flower and John Hayes: “Problem Solving Strategies and the Writing Process” (1977)--”Dynamics of Composing: Making Plans and Juggling Constraints” (1979)-- “The Cognition of Discovery: Defining a Rhetorical Problem” (1980)-- “Problem Solving and the Cognitive Process of Writing” (1981)
Andrea Lunsford: “Cognitive Development and the Basic Writer” College English (1979)
Lee Odell's: “Measuring Changes in Intellectual Processes as One Dimension of Growth in Writing” (1977)
Lynn Quitman Troyka: “The Phenomenon of Impact: The CUNY Writing Assessment Test” (1984)
Journal for Basic Writing emerged in 1986 (“Became a refereed journal with a large editorial board representing a variety of institutions nationally” 21)
Articles includes: David Bartholomae's “Inventing the University” Andrea Lunsford “Assignments for Basic Writers: Unresolved Issues and Needed Research” Troyka: “Defining Basic Writing in Context” (1987) George H. Jensen's “The Reification of the Basic Writer” “argued that the definition of the basic writer, like the concept of 'general intelligence,' was shaped and reified with recourse to 'political and social pigeonholes” (22)
Conference on Basic Writing emerged in 1985 (“own national conferences in 1985, 87, 89, 92 )
In the late 1980's, BW “was rejecting as well as embracing influences” after “having reached a kind of adolescence” (23) “By the end of the decade, however, Stephen Bernhardt and Patricia Wojahn would note in their overview of “Computers and Writing Instruction” that “growth in computer use has largely been away from drill and practice toward uses as either heuristic devices or simply tools for writing” (23-24).