In the Spring of 2008, all students in Foundations in Writing (FW) courses were asked to select and submit the piece of writing that best exemplified the following Student Learning Outcome: “Students will be able to compose a text that seeks to achieve a specific purpose and responds adeptly to an identifiable audience.” Students were also asked to compose a 30-minute in-class reflection on their essay’s purpose and audience as a means of assessing students’ meta-cognitive understandings of their essay’s rhetorical situation. Employing a stratified-random sampling design, 208 (or 50%) of the essays submitted by first-year students were selected for scoring across the five FW course types: English 100 Mentored, English 100 Non-Mentored, English 101 Lab, English 100A, and English Language Institute 100. Given the wide variety of essay prompts, scorers assumed the intended audience to be a critically-informed reader. Essays were scored independently by two raters along a 4-point scale according to the following primary analytic traits: 1) content, 2) organization, 3) language and style, and 4) mechanics. In a separate session, in-class reflective essays were scored holistically on a 4-point scale. Overall, students scored at the “prepared” or “well prepared” levels at the following rates: content (72%), organization (57%), language and style (74%), mechanics (68%), and reflective pieces (48%). Students in mentored sections out-performed their non-mentored counterparts in all categories, scoring significantly higher on content, organization, and reflective pieces. Results point to potential areas for programmatic improvement and also indicate that the Writing Mentors Program is improving the quality of writing for first-year students. By Holly Huff Bruland and Erica Reynolds Clayton
No Poster Available
Bruland, H., Clayton, E. (2008, November). How Well are First-Year Students Composing? Assessing the Foundations in Written Communication Program. Poster session presented at the Assessment for Curricular Improvement Poster Exhibit at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI.