Assessment is an integral part of the first-year writing program: it’s how we discover what is working well, where we need to grow and improve, and how we might provide new kinds of experiences for students and instructors.
Each year, we read and assess student writing from all first-year writing courses. Most often, instructors submit three anonymous, random, and complete student portfolios from each section of English 90, 101, and 102; the portfolios are then read by instructors of these courses so that we can understand what students are learning in our courses. Every year, the Director of First-Year Writing compiles an Assessment Report that describes our findings, we set new program goals and priorities.
For example: the portfolio assessment over the past several years has led to
- multiple workshops and inservices for faculty on issues like research-based instruction, enhancing reflection in first-year writing, and integrating technological approaches into these courses,
- program revisions and pilot projects like the Stretch 90/101 structure and the PoWeR project and
- revisions to the course goals and outcomes for English 101 and 102, among other things.
The yearly assessment process also provides FYWP faculty with a rich professional development experience as we read, reflect on, and discuss hundreds of student portfolios. If you’re a FYWP instructor and you’re interested in participating, watch your email inbox for announcements!