“Writing today is not
a frill for the few but
an essential skill for
State and Local
• Utah scores below national average
• Utah scores did not improve
measurably from 1998-2002
• THS UBSCT scores went from 74%
proficient in 2005 to 56% proficient in
Principles of WAC
• Writing is the responsibility of the entire academic
• Writing must be integrated across departmental
• Writing Instruction must be continuous during all
four years of undergraduate education,
• Writing promotes learning, and
• Only by Practicing the conventions of an academic
discipline will students begin to communicate
effectively within that discipline.
WID and WTL
• WID: Writing in the Disciplines
– Each discipline has conventions of language use and style
that should be taught to students so that they can
successfully participate in academic discourse.
– WID assignments include reports, articles, reviews,
research papers, etc.
• WTL: Writing to Learn
– WTL activities are journals, logs, and other informal
– If students write reactions in their own words, they often
comprehend and retain information better.
What's in it for me?
• Including writing in courses has both short- and
long-term benefits for teachers.
• In the short run, teachers are better able to gauge
how well students grasp information and where
they need elaboration of key concepts.
• In the long run, as more teachers incorporate
writing into more courses, students become more
and more practiced at using writing as a
communication and learning tool.
• Especially for more advanced or specialized work in
the discipline, teachers reap the benefits of having
students who are better grounded in the
fundamentals and ready to engage in more
sophisticated analysis of ideas.
• Quick Writes • Thinking on Paper
– Before • Lists
– During • Responses
• Entrance and Exit
• Dialogues Slips
• Journals • Self-Assessments
Use in Class
• To start discussions • To let off steam
• To summarize • To set
• To refocus lost classes • To evaluate personal
• To solve problems academic progress
• To respond to • To "free write" and
• To generate paper • To be a record of
• To learn to like to
Creating a Good Writing
• Tie all writing assignments to content goals
• Clarify the rhetorical aspects of the task
– Writing Scene
• Make the elements of the assignment clear
• Include the grading criteria
• Break it into manageable steps
• The OWL at Purdue
• Northern Illinois University
• The WAC Clearinghouse (Colorado State)
• THS English Department