Friday, December 31, 2010

Topic: Assessment of Writing Programs

Question: What is one method of assessing the effectiveness of a school’s writing program?

Answer: Administer the following interview questions to recent graduates. In part the assessment is designed to update the writing faculty on the current needs of graduates in performing writing assignments on the job.

> Can you give us examples of writing you have done that is persuasive and/or public?

> What was your intent in doing each of those pieces of writing? What was the situation that prompted the writing? Who did you think of as the potential readers of what you wrote?

> When doing these pieces of writing, are there certain thing you consciously avoid saying or doing?

> Are you conscious, when performing persuasive and/or public writing, of word choices, of sentence construction, of sentence length? Can you think of some examples?

> What writing technologies did you use when performing the writing, e.g. personal computer, pen and ink, recording device?

> In creating the writing, did you use any particular software, or different kinds of software?

> When writing, do you recall particular practices or pieces of information from your time as an undergraduate doing written composition?

> When you reflect upon your undergraduate experiences as a writer, what kind of connections can you make between those experiences and your current writing practices?

> What should we include in an undergraduate writing curriculum that you believe would prepare someone for you current writing practices?

>. Do you have to research material as part of the writing you do? How do you conduct that research?

>. Do you still follow any research processes that you learned or developed while an undergraduate?

> Are there any research processes you had to learn after graduation, in order to effectively produce the writing you do now?

Comment: These questions help to keep faculty abreast of the latest needs in writing by recent graduates. RayS.

Title: “What Our Graduates Write: Making Program Assessment Both Authentic and Persuasive.” C Cosgrove. College Composition and Communication (December 2010), 311-335.

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