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» Writing Inquiry Assessment

Written Inquiry Learning Outcome: Student establishes active, genuine, and responsible authorial engagement; communicates a purpose—an argument or other intentional point/goal; invokes a specific audience, develops the argument/content with an internal logic-organization; integrates references, citations, and source materially logically and dialogically, indicating how such forms of evidence relate to each other and the author’s position; and composes the text with: a style or styles appropriate to the purpose and intended audience, a consistent use of the diction appropriate to the author’s topic and purpose, the ability to establish and vary authorial voice(s) and tone(s), a choice of form(s) and genre(s) appropriate to purpose and audience (forms may be digital and/or multimodal), and rhetorically effective use of document design.

Written Inquiry Courses

Written Inquiry Assessment Rubric

Written Inquiry Assessment Process

Assessment Date: The Written Inquiry area was assessed in the spring of 2017. The assessment of the student work samples collected resulted in the following action steps.

Action Steps Taken: Assessment in 2010-2011 led to the creation of writing faculty workshops starting in 2011-2012, where all instructors of WI met the week before the Fall semester to discuss SLOs, program goals and focus, and issues within the classroom and the discipline at large. Participants in the workshops were paid a stipend of $100 each for attending the 2+ hours, which came out of the provost’s office. These workshops proved invaluable in bringing the WI program together, providing cohesiveness in understanding of purpose, goals, and learning outcomes, and creating a sense of community among almost exclusively adjunct faculty. After the change in provost/vice-provost/assistant provost, the source of the stipend funding came into question, though it was resolved (temporarily?) in the last year through the assistant provost’s office. This funding MUST continue, and if possible increase to allow for two workshops per year, one before each semester. Consistent (and compensated) pedagogy workshops will ensure a robust conversation about SLOs and purpose, will create a stronger investment from contingent faculty who we rely upon to make this GE possible, and will ensure our ability to develop progress toward more effective integration of the SLOS, and continued assessment of them.

The assessment process this year (2018) compensated participating faculty, and more importantly, included their voice in a transactional process beyond the scoring data. That data is meaningless without context and robust reflection and interrogation, which is in turn not possible without continued investment of adjunct and full-faculty time (and financial compensation for that time).

The assessment process between 2012 and 2017 was spotty at best, in large part due to the overwhelming demands of time upon the five full-time faculty members in the program (who must balance their responsibilities in the writing program with other programs in the English department and university) and the program director, who receives a single course release for the entire year. Adjunct faculty who teach the majority of WI courses cannot be expected to adequately nor effectively contributed to assessment without financial compensation for their time, and no compensation was offered through the assessment office from 2012-2017. As a result, assessment was conducted ad hoc, and more generally consisted of annual faculty observations and reviews rather than a comprehensive analysis of student work across the writing program.

This year’s assessment approach felt like a watershed moment with the close collaboration between participating adjunct faculty and the three full-time faculty members, as well as members of the provost’s office. Of particular importance was the critical reflections written by the participating adjunct faculty, who independently addressed common issues with interpreting the SLOs and the means of scoring “engagement.” These critical reflections became the contextual basis for rethinking what the WI SLO(s) communicate to students, faculty, and external audiences, for how we measure achievement and why, and for our next moves in developing the WI program.