Writing Assessment

Dr. Sherry Alusow Hart, assessment director of WAC since 2008, has conducted a series of assessments of writing at the university and has presented her scholarship at CCCC, the Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition, Writing Across Institutions, and the Quinnipac University Conference on Critical Thinking and Writing.  She is a former president of the Tennessee Philological Association.  

The WAC Program has been engaged in various levels of assessment since its inception in 2008. We began with a baseline assessment of both RC 1000 and the piloted RC 2001. With the new General Education and the Vertical Writing Model about to be launched, we wanted to know our students' strengths and weaknesses before the curriculum changed. Since that first assessment of student portfolios, we assessed them annually from 2008 until 2018, providing the first direct writing assessment to Gen Ed in at least 20 years. Our rubrics evolved to become more meaningful as well.

We have also developed internal assessments for the WAC staff, including follow-up evaluations after consultations with WID faculty, evaluations of workshops and presentations by the participants, and annual reports by and evaluations of consultants by the director for the Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs.

The WAC Program and Gen Ed have created a structure for direct writing assessment, guided by Sherry Alusow Hart, who is the WAC consultant in charge of assessment activities. WAC began work on writing assessment in 2009, helping RC to create an assessment plan, and has since brought FL, ESL, WGC, and RC together to talk about assessment in first-year writing courses.

  • 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 RC, offering a faculty development workshop to RC 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 RC.
  • WAC also compared the AAC&U rubric with its own and offered analysis to Gen Ed and RC 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 RC 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.
  • WAC has developed an argumentation rubric for courses across the curriculum. Please click here to access the rubric (Google Doc).

The metarubric is a suggested rubric based on the shared outcomes from the original Gen Ed list to be adapted by programs interested in a general rubric for writing assessment. We'll be happy to talk with your faculty about adapting the metarubric or creating one for your program. Please click here to access this metarubric (Google Doc).

Dr. Alusow Hart has also provided a guide for faculty in creating their own rubrics. Please click here to access this guide (Google Doc).