My Students Can�t Write: What Can ID o?

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					My Students Can’t Write:
    What Can I Do?

                         Tom Pusateri
      Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Analysis
                        Jeffrey R. Galin
         University Center for Excellence in Writing
                           Tim Lenz
       Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters
          Special Assistant for Teaching Initiatives
What Problems Do You Encounter
     with Student Writing?
   Problems

   Responsibilities

   Solutions
          Summative or Formative

        Summative                    Formative

   Comments on what            comments that
    students have done
                                 elicit revision from
    well, what poorly, and
    assigning a grade            students
Holistic or Analytical Assessment

         Holistic                    Analytical

   One grade is given for      Separate scores are
    overall impression of        given for each
    paper                        criterion of evaluation
         FAU English Dept. Rubric
RUBRIC FOR HOLISTIC ASSESSMENT OF ESSAYS                                       FAU’S English Department
SUPERIOR                                                                       voted to use this rubric to
Addresses the question or prompt fully
Demonstrates substantial comprehension of relevant material                    provide feedback to
Shows substantial depth, complexity, and creativity of thought
Demonstrates clear and coherent organization                                   students in all of their
Develops arguments fully with ample supporting detail
Demonstrates superior control of diction, syntactic variety, and transitions   3000- and 4000-level
STRONG                                                                         courses. Faculty provide
Address the question or prompt substantively, yet not fully
Demonstrates comprehension of relevant material                                this rubric in their syllabi
Shows depth, complexity, and creativity of thought
Demonstrates clear organization
                                                                               and direct their feedback
Develops arguments with supporting detail
Demonstrates control of diction, syntactic variety, and transition
                                                                               to students using this
Adequately addresses the question or prompt
Demonstrates adequate understanding of relevant material
Shows clarity of thought but may treat the topic simplistically or repetitively
Demonstrates adequate organization
Develops arguments adequately, with some detail
Demonstrates adequate facility with syntax, mechanics, and usage but contains some errors
May distort or neglect parts of the question or prompt, and/or
Fails to comprehend relevant material
Lacks clarity of thought or demonstrates confused or simplistic thinking, and/or
Lacks adequate organization, and/or
Fails to provide adequate or appropriate details to support generalizations, or may provide details without
generalization, and/or
Demonstrates significant patterns of errors in language, syntax, or mechanics
USC Aiken requires all
junior-level students to
submit a portfolio of
their writing from several
courses. Faculty use this
analytical rubric to
evaluate the quality of
writing in each student’s
USC Aiken provides
departments with
summary data that
describes the quality of
writing submitted by
their majors.
      Loras College Portfolio Rubric
For each “area of competence assessment” listed below, please score the writings in the portfolio as a whole on the following scale:
1    Deficiency(ies) on this criterion are so serious as to obstruct the author’s intended meaning and require remediation.
2    Deficiency(ies) on this criterion distract from meaning or the writer’s purpose.
3    Generally competent on this criterion, with some deficiencies that need revision.
4    Beyond competence and worthy of congratulation. Performance on this criterion positively contributes to the author’s intended
     purpose. The author shows sophistication in employing this criterion to achieve his or her purpose.
A. The student supports ideas with evidence:                                 1 2 3 4
       from personal experience and/or research that is appropriate for the assignment;                    Loras College developed
       in a format (e.g., citations, references) appropriate for the discipline and level of assignment;
       that the student interprets and/or integrates in the paper.
                                                                                                           this analytical rubric to
B.   The student displays creativity, voice, and/or a sense                         1 2 3 4                assess the quality of
     of audience:
       by taking a fresh, novel, or original approach to the subject;                                      writing in portfolios
       by conveying the student’s individuality through tone and style;
       by directing the writing to a specific and appropriate audience.                                    submitted by its
C.   The student organizes the writing in ways that:
       are consistent with the purpose of the assignment;
                                                                                    1 2 3 4                sophomore students.
       articulate the purpose and structure of the paper, usually near the start of the paper;             Note the similarity of
       link paragraphs and sentences within paragraphs (which are of reasonable length).
D.   The student demonstrates critical thinking in one or more                      1 2 3 4                criteria for writing that
     of the following ways:
       by considering and articulating varying perspectives;                                               were developed
       by analyzing arguments, relating evidence to claims, and defending a position;
       by developing a consistent theme.
                                                                                                           independently by faculty
E.   The student uses standard English and effective prose:                         1 2 3 4                at Loras College and at
       by spelling words correctly and punctuating appropriately;
       by using correct grammar (e.g., no inappropriate run-on sentences or fragments);                    USC Aiken (previous
       by writing clear, concise, and varied prose.
OVERALL RATING                                                              1 2 3 4                        slide).
(1 = well below criteria, 2 = below criteria, 3 = meets criteria, 4 = exceeds criteria)
Catalog Description of 2000-4000 Level WAC Courses
Preamble to WAC Guidelines
Requirements for WA C Designation
Guidelines and Recommendations
Outcome Goals for Student Work/Guidelines for Students
Syllabus Templates
Syllabus Rubric / Feedback Form for WAC Syllabus Proposals
Sample Syllabi

To receive a WAC designation, a course will:
1. Provide a syllabus that informs students of the writing-intensive nature of the course and
explains how the course fulfills the WAC requirements below.

2. Include writing assignments that engage students in intellectual activities central to the course

3. Include at least two graded writing assignments completed out of class.

4. Count writing assignments for at least 50% of the course grade.

5. Provide a clear, written description of each writing assignment and its evaluation criteria.

6. Allocate class time for discussing strategies to improve student writing.

7. Require students to make substantial revision of at least one graded assignment.

8. Include substantive feedback on all writing that leads to a grade.

9. Require each student to write 3,000 or 6,000 words.
  [The words in ungraded writing assignments may count toward this total, as do words in a draft
                     students must revidse as part of a graded assignment.]

For further information on these criteria and suggestions for teaching WAC courses, please refer to
the WAC Guidelines and Recommendations.. This Document and additional helpful information and
                  links will be posted on the WAC web site:
                   Feedback Form for Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Syllabus Proposals
        INSTRUCTIONS: Please e-mail back completed form and any supplementary comments to with copies to
        and Thank you; we appreciate your time and expertise.

Course #:       Course Title:           Author:

Reviewer:       Review Date:

                                                                    OK Not yet Comments
                      DESIGNATED COURSE:
1. The syllabus informs students of the writing intensive nature of
the course and explains how the course fulfills the WAC
requirements and Gordon Rule credit.

2. The writing assignments are integral to the course and are
designed to engage students in intellectual activities central to the
course objectives.

3. The syllabus specifies that writing assignments will constitute
at least 50% of the final grade.

4. There are at least two discreet out-of-class writing

5. At least one out-of-class writing assignment requires global

6. Each student is required to write 3,000 (or 6,000) words. (The
words in ungraded assignments may count toward this total, as
do words in a draft students must revise as part of a graded

7. Written instructions explain each writing assignment, including
an explanation of the goals and specific evaluation criteria for that

8. The syllabus describes how substantive feedback will be
provided on all writing that leads to a grade.

9. Time is allocated in the schedule for discussing strategies to
improve student writing.

Other comments:
                 Allocating your time

                         Assign and Guide

         Assign                           Grade
Many faculty members devote less time to discussing writing assignments and more
time providing comments and feedback as they grade those assignments.
(NOTE: This often occurs the first time you develop an assignment, when you
aren’t yet certain what criteria you will use to evaluate student papers.)

                                         Paul Anderson “The Future of
                                         Writing Across the Curriculum
                                         at Florida Atlantic University:
                                         Possibilities and Implications”
            Allocating your time

   Assign                            Grade

          Assign and Guide                          Grade

By devoting more time to providing   Paul Anderson “The Future of
students guidance and suggestions    Writing Across the Curriculum
prior to writing, you can often      at Florida Atlantic University:
reduce the amount of time you need   Possibilities and Implications”
to spend grading papers.
 IEA Home page: (To get to Scoring
  Rubrics, click on the link to “Assessment Resources” and
  then the link to “Recommended Teaching Pedagogies”)
 Direct link to Scoring
  tm#Scoring%20Rubrics (This site provides links to
  several online resources for scoring rubrics.)
Recommended Book:
 Scoring Rubrics in the Classroom (Arter &

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