English 2001, Introduction to Writing Across the Curriculum Survey, December 2011
In December of 2011, the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program at Appalachian State University conducted a survey of students in the Writing in the Discipline classes and in English 2001, Introduction to WAC, to get feedback pertaining to their attitudes about how well they are being prepared for writing in their majors, about their experience with the University Writing Center (UWC), and to find out how they felt about themselves as writers. The primary goal of WAC is to offer faculty development to support the vertical writing curriculum in order to help studentswrite better in their academic careers and to prepare them for the writing they will do outside academia. Gathering information via this survey can help WAC strengthen faculty development for the English 2001 course, which serves as students’ introduction to writing across the curriculum. (This document reports only the results relevant to the WAC program.) You can find the report here
WAC Writing Assessment
The WAC Program and Gen Ed have created a structure for direct writing assessment, working with Elaine Gray and Tony Carey, the first that Composition has participated in for many years , guided by Sherry Alusow Hart
, who is the WAC consultant in charge of assessment activities. WAC began work on writing assessment in 2009, helping Composition to create an assessment plan, and has since brought FL, ESL, WGC, and Comp together to talk about assessment in first-year writing courses.
- WAC has read portfolios from English 1000 and 2001 for 4 semesters, providing the first direct writing assessment to Gen Ed in at least 20 years.
- WAC consultants created rubrics for writing from sources and reflection for a reading of portfolios in spring 2009, applied these rubrics to portfolio readings, and provided information to Gen Ed and Composition, offering a faculty development workshop to Composition about the findings, and then revising these rubrics based on the study.
- In 2009 and 2010, WAC consultants participated in the Gen Ed Barbara Walvoord symposium and evaluated the AAC&U rubric for writing courses. WAC consultants then applied the AAC&U rubric in two readings for Gen Ed, providing analysis of the rubric's efficacy and feedback to Composition.
- WAC also compared the AAC&U rubric with its own and offered analysis to Gen Ed and Composition this year.
- WAC has conducted indirect assessment of writing through surveys with students and faculty.
- WAC provides information about writing rubric development and application to Composition and WID courses.
- WAC has laid groundwork for WID course assessment, conducting a syllabi inventory of all programs in preparation for faculty development in 2012, and developed a metarubric as a guide for disciplines to adapt for WID courses which is awaiting Gen Ed Council discussion.
In developing this assessment initiative, Sherry Alusow Hart researched writing assessment materials and worked with WAC staff in the development of rubrics and best practice in portfolio review. In the pilot assessment readings, WAC staff read and reported to Composition, revising rubrics and working with Barbara Walvoord and Elaine Gray. In 2010, the assistant director of Composition joined the WAC staff in portfolio review, and in 2011 the list of reviewers will include those external to WAC, with plans to annually expand the list of reviewers and to include a study of how different reviewers evaluate the rubrics.
WAC has developed its own rubrics for writing from sources and reflection, applied the AAC&U Values rubrics, and conducted a study of a comparison of each set of rubrics. In 2011 we will merge the rubrics, adding to their range, and continue to evaluate their effectiveness.