ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES IN GENERAL EDUCATION
BASIC COMMUNICATION WRITING  2002-2003

The current assessment of writing is based upon best practices and the expertise of writing instructors Dr. Thomas Reigstad, John Dwyer, Susan Leist, Kevin Railey and Ralph Wahlstrom.

Gen Ed Writing Requirement:  All entering freshmen must exhibit competency at the Eng 101 and Eng 102 levels.

I.      Outcomes/Objectives:

A.     Students will produce coherent text within common college-level
         written forms

      1. Students will demonstrate the ability to compose and revise competent pieces of expository writing, including narratives, personal essays, responses to literary works and/or informal writing such as journals.
         
      2. Students will demonstrate competence with patterns of arrangement:  narration, description, comparison, contrast, classification, cause and effect, induction and deduction.

      3. Students will demonstrate competence in argumentative and persuasive writing.

      4. Students will demonstrate the ability to read writing-in-progress, identify rhetorical patterns that work for articulated writing tasks and appreciate and expand their stylistic repertoire.

      5. Students will demonstrate the ability to write well-organized, unified, coherent research-based papers and essays that include a clear thesis and strong supporting material.

      6. Students will produce at least five substantive writing exercises demonstrating competence in drafting and revising for each. In Eng 102 students will compose longer essays, sustain more complex revision and practice greater control of structure, form and research than in Eng 101.

B.     Students will demonstrate the ability to revise and improve such texts

    1. Students will demonstrate competence in the writing process from invention and prewriting through drafting, revision and final editing.

    2. Students will develop a repertoire for analyzing and approaching writing tasks, finding a subject and generating ideas for writing.

    3. Students will examine reading and writing processes in relation to each other and in class and with the help of the Writing Center staff, will gain practice in reading writing-in-progress, identifying what works as well as what needs work.
    4. Students will gain experience in using the personal computer as a writing and revising tool.

C.     Students will research a topic, develop an argument and organize
         supporting details

    1. Students will recognize persona, purpose and audience in writing and develop essays that demonstrate unity and coherence and contain a clear controlling idea (thesis), a strong introduction, sufficient supporting detail and a strong conclusion.

    2. Students will demonstrate the ability to use research strategies for specialized assignments, employing an appropriate citation format (e.g., MLA and APA) and demonstrating the ability to use Butler Library and the Internet as sources of reference information.

    3. Students will demonstrate competency in finding, analyzing, synthesizing material from critical and popular print and electronic and other media into their writing.

II.     Student Performance

Portfolios of student writing will be gathered from Eng 102 classes. The portfolios will contain:

A letter of reflection: personal writing in which the student introduces the portfolio and reflects on the content of the portfolio, development as a writer during the class, and discusses future goals in writing;

An in-class essay: An essay based on thematic readings and written during one class period;

A Process Set:  A formal paper which demonstrates the essay’s progression from early prewriting to final draft;

A formal essay (final draft only): A research paper demonstrating the writer's use of resource materials and proper citation format.

III.    Assessment Criteria/Standards

The portfolios will be read and evaluated by 2 outside (not the student's instructor) faculty readers according to a rubric that reflects the writing objectives identified.

The attached rubric is to be used according to the following guidelines: Instructors collect the student portfolios (original and copy)
Instructors are assigned to groups of readers comprised of writing faculty
Each portfolio is given to two readers (not the student's instructor)
Readers evaluate the student's writing according to the rubric
The two scores are averaged and the student receives a grade of "S"atisfactory or "U"nsatisfactory
Portfolio scores of 3.0 and higher are deemed "S"atisfactory, meeting the College's basic communication standards.

Level

Exceeding
Standards

Meeting
Standards

Approaching
Standards

Significantly Below Standards

Numerical Average

3.6-4.0

3.0-3.5

2.0-2.9

0-1.9

Estimated Students Achieving Each Level- in percentages *

30%

55%

12%

3%

These estimates are based on student performance in thirteen sections of ENG 102, fall 1999.

The Writing Program will hold two calibration sessions each semester to ensure inter-observer reliability.

IV.   Sampling

Portfolios of two students randomly chosen from each Eng 102 class will be assessed according to the learning objectives for a sample size of approximately N=150.

V.     Feedback

The results of this assessment activity will be discussed annually at meetings of the composition faculty.

Student Writer

 

Instructor

Course

Date

         The student will have completed at least five substantive writing exercises before submitting the portfolio.ENG102:  Components Required for Final Portfolio Review: letter of reflection, essay with process drafts and notes, research paper, timed essay based on readings

 

 

4

3

2

1

Purpose

Is the writer's focus clear?

Establishes a clear focus and purpose and fulfills the goals of the essay, e.g. to entertain, to inform, to persuade

Establishes a focus and purpose and stays on the topic very well.

Attempts to establish  a purpose; focus of writing is not fully clear.

Purpose and focus need clarification.  What is the writer trying to accomplish? (e.g. to entertain, to inform, to persuade).

Organization

Does the organization move the writing forward?

Writing shows good planning.  There are bridges between paragraphs, and ideas are explained well.  Fluent and  coherent.

Writing shows good planning, and ideas are explained well.  Paragraphs and sentences are arranged appropriately.

Clearer paragraphing is needed.  Instead of staying with one idea at a time, there is some jumping around.

The writer needs to reread and rewrite to bring out the logical connections between points.

Details

Do details enhance and/or clarify the writing?

Details enhance the writing and provide information in depth.

Uses enough detail to explain the topic in a general sense.

The writer has made an effort to use details to explain the topic, but some are merely listed or unnecessarily repetitious.

Does not give details to explain the topic, or gives details that do not go with the topic.

Grammar/Usage/Syntax

Mechanics

Does the writing show command of grammar/usage/mechanics and sentence structure?

Makes very few or no grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.  Any departures from convention seem intentional and are effective. Sentence structure and variety is correct and effective.

Some grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes.  More time and care are needed in editing and proofreading. Lack of sentence variety; some errors in syntax.

Spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors make reading the assignment difficult.  More time and care are necessary. Lack of sentence variety; many incomplete, run-on, or comma-spliced sentences.

Many spelling, sentence and punctuation errors which make it difficult to understand the assignment. 

Research/Use of Sources              

Does the writing demonstrate the student's ability to research a topic and use source material to develop an argument and organize supporting details

Uses outside sources effectively: Includes print; may include electronic and other media.  Employs appropriate citation format.  Analyzes, synthesizes source material into a research paper.

Some use of sources.  Some errors in citation format.  May be weak analysis and rough, or poor synthesis of source material into the text.

Source material is included but does not clearly support the thesis, is not effectively discussed or synthesized into the text, and is not adequately or correctly cited.

Very poor, irrelevant, or no use of source material: does not analyze/synthesize source material into the text. Lack of proper citation in the text and works cited page. 

Overall Score___________
Reader's Initials ______ Comments