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B.A., Writing

Departmental Assessment Report

Number of Majors:

Level: Fall 2005 Fall 2004 Fall 2003
Freshman 37 20 14
Sophomore 28 15 18
Junior 44 33 21
Senior 44 35 32
Graduate Student

Number of Graduates in 2004-2005: 32

Student Learning Goals:

Students will be able to:

1. Modify writing strategies for different writing situations
2. Recognize basic elements of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction
3. Demonstrate knowledge of stylistic and genre conventions by creating texts in particular genres, writing analyses of published texts, and engaging in conversation in class and/or online
4. Employ invention and revision as acts of discovery
5. Engage in conversation about an evolving text, giving and using feedback in a workshop setting
6. Find and integrate sources appropriate to the genre using primary and secondary research methods
7. Perform rhetorical analysis and critique of a variety of texts
8. Compose sentences using principles of style, grammar, and punctuation appropriate to the genre and audience, without errors that distract readers from understanding meaning.

Assessment Plan:

Assessment Measure: Goals Addressed:

(list by number)

How is the information used?
1.  Capstone portfolio of writing completed in writing emphasis courses 1-4, 6-8 Each May, the Rhetoric and Composition Discipline Director will organize faculty who teach writing emphasis courses to review capstone portfolios and assess three different learning goals each year.  The results will be used to improve instruction and/or to modify learning goals, and will be discussed at a meeting of all writing emphasis faculty each fall term.
2. Survey students in lower-division writing classes (ENGL 201, 205, 206) and upper division writing classes(ENGL 401,  406, 407) 1-8 The survey will address all the learning goals, including #5, which is not assessable through a portfolio of writing. Data will focus on differences between lower-division and advanced students in achieving learning outcomes.  Results will be tabulated and then reviewed by all writing emphasis faculty during the fall meeting.
3.  Alumni survey three years after graduation 1, 4, 6-8 This survey will be distributed to graduates to assess how applicable the learning goals are to the careers our graduates choose.  It too will be discussed by faculty during the fall term, and will be organized by the Director of the Writing Program.
Once it is determined what changes need to made in the curriculum, the Discipline Director will convene a formal meeting of faculty who teach Writing Emphasis courses.  In that meeting, curriculum change proposals will be discussed (if warranted) before submitting to the English Department Curriculum Committee; course syllabi will be re-examined and revised to reflect the assessment information and needed changes; faculty development workshops that focus on specific kinds of improvement will be announced.
What do the assessment results tell you?

The results of the portfolio assessment will tell us whether and how well students are achieving the learning goals for the emphasis that can be demonstrated in texts.  Every year we will address three goals, determining how well all the portfolios demonstrate those goals.  For the goals in which students perform less well, we will discuss changes that need to be made in individual courses and the overall curriculum of the emphasis.

The questionnaire will assess the same learning goals as the portfolio AND enable us to assess goal #5, something that cannot be assessed through a text.  The questions will prompt students to demonstrate their learning in a fundamentally different way than the portfolio, offering additional data as we consider which learning goals students struggle with the most.

The alumni survey will ask students about the kinds of writing they are currently doing in their jobs and the skills needed for those careers, allowing us to determine how well the learning goals for the Writing Emphasis prepare students for their careers.  We will then discuss and implement changes that need to be made.

What are some examples of changes made over the last two years based on assessment findings?

The assessment measures have not yet been implemented.  We hope to do so in Fall, 2008.
What recommendations do you have for improving the assessment process?

None at this time.

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