Assessing the Writing Program

Planned Assessment of Undergraduate Writing, 2016-2020

Review: In December 2015, the University faculty voted to implement a writing requirement whose goals were to

1—prioritize and make visible writing instruction within and across general education and programs via WE designations on courses contributing to that learning goal

2—capitalize on demonstrated success rates in writing intensive FSEM courses

3—better distribute university resources by targeting faculty development and student learning in courses whose effectiveness at teaching students to meet University writing goals has been repeatedly demonstrated

4—enhance faculty instruction of writing considered important in learning goals, disciplinary and/or genre conventions, and mission-driven academic goals and

5—enhance student learning of critical writing skills to excellence, as measured by GEAC, academic programs and faculty

As part of that writing requirement, we agreed that

1— faculty development opportunities would be offered across and within curricula to support the increased attention to writing as a high-impact learning practice

2— a Writing Fellows program, housed in the Writing Center, would begin to place Fellows trained in peer-based tutoring into courses to support faculty and students in learning goals

3— a four-year study would begin Fall 2016, with the goal of reporting in 2020-21 on the effectiveness of the new writing requirement.

The University Writing Advisory Council (UWAC) met several times during Spring 2016 to develop plans to implement the requirement. In collaboration with the Director of Curriculum and Assessment, the General Education Assessment Committee, and the University General Education Committee, UWAC has developed the following assessment plan, to begin Fall 2016. See here for an infographic of the cohort study. View the rubric and outcome statement that will be used.

Fall 2016: identify a student cohort; collect writing samples from students in FSEM; assess. Update faculty. (JSEM samples also collected for contrast analysis)

Fall 2018: collect writing samples from the same students in JSEM; assess; compare to FSEM; plot a trajectory of student skill development over time. Update faculty. (FSEM samples also collected for contrast analysis)

Fall 2019: collect writing samples from the same students in their senior year; interview students for qualitative input into assessment process; assess and analyze collected samples and interviews; compile report; deliver to faculty.

Fall 2020: Close the loop: are Stetson faculty and students satisfied with student learning achievement of writing goals? What are the next steps in continued improvement?