Presentation on theme: "Writing Across the Curriculum"— Presentation transcript:
1 Writing Across the Curriculum Ellen M. MillsapsProf. of English, Dir. Of WAC/Composition
2 Basic WAC Definition“Students use written language to develop and communicate knowledge in every discipline and across disciplines.”--Art Young
3 What WAC Is Not:An add-on to the school’s curriculum: it is a way to teach the curriculum.Accomplished by assigning a term paper in every classDesigned to add more work for youBusy workAn effort by English faculty to have others do their work for them
4 Why Write?? The National Commission on Writing First report to Congress, 2003: The Neglected “R”: The Need for a Writing RevolutionSecond report, 2004: Writing: A Ticket to Work. . .Or a Ticket Out, A Survey of Business LeadersThird report, 2005: Writing: A Powerful Message from State GovernmentSecond Report, dealing with the corporate world:Writing is a “threshold” skill for both employment and promotion.Two-thirds of salaried employees in large American companies have some writing responsibility.More than 40 percent offer or require training for salaried employees with writing deficiencies—may cost as much as $3.1 billion annually.Third Report , dealing with state governments:100 percent of the 49 states responding said that writing was an important responsibility for workers.States spend nearly a quarter of a billion dollars a year on remedial writing instruction for their employees.
5 Some Overall Guiding Assumptions about Writing 1. Writing is a mode of learning.** Assigning writing is a powerful mode of teaching.As Janet Emig from Rutgers wrote in an important essay, “Writing is a unique mode of learning.” Why? It actively engages a student in his/her own learning. Having students write in class or beforehand makes for better class discussions.
6 Writing Promotes Active Learning —National Training Laboratories, Bethel, Maine
7 --Writing Assumptions, cont. 2. Learning a discipline also means learning the particular ways of writing in that discipline.Learning to write in a discipline is a natural developmental process. “Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar….” Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form, 3rd ed., U of California P,
8 Writing Assumptions, cont. 3. Informal writing exercises both complement formal writing assignments and are valuable in their own right.For many classes, frequent short writing assignments are preferable to infrequent long ones.
9 Some Informal Uses of Writing Five-minute free writes at the start of class to focus discussion on the topic.A “one-minute essay” to summarize the most important points of class or to ask a question to be addressed at the next class meeting.An answer to someone’s question about a problem, process, or concept.As an exit ticket from class.
10 Some Uses of Writing Other than Research Papers Article Summary/AbstractAnnotated BibliographyReview of LiteratureCase StudiesLab ReportsProgram/Exhibit NotesLesson PlansNews articles about disciplinary topicReviews of lectures, performances“F.I.T” essays (Fact, Interpretation, Tie-in)
11 Writing Assumptions, cont. 4. Learning to write is not like getting vaccinated against measles.Adapted from Doug Hesse, Univ. of Denver, 2007Writing is not a “one-time shot.” It is a developmental process that requires practice not only when students are in English classes, but also in courses across the curriculum.
12 “A geology professor in teaching students the knowledge that is geology as well as how to think, communicate, and solve problems like a geologist is initiating students into geology as a discipline and into science as a profession. Sometimes teachers fear that becoming involved in WAC means taking time away from geology—becoming an English teacher for 30 percent of the time—and they are understandably reluctant to do so.”
13 “WAC says that a geology professor should not attempt to become an English professor at all. Geologists should teach geology, its knowledge and its ways of developing and communicating knowledge, and they should utilize written language as a tool to strengthen this teaching and learning of geology.” -Art Young, Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum
14 Courses that Use Writing vs. Courses that Teach Writing 1.Emphasis on teaching course content through having students actively engage information and ideas.Emphasis on students developing writing skills and strategies2.“Getting better” as a writer is an indirect side benefit.“Getting better” as a writer is a direct and primary goal.3.Class time features relatively little direct instruction in writing.Class time features direct instruction in writing.4.Frequent shorter writings are prominent.5.The focus of the course is on assigned readings, practices, or topics.The focus of the course is on the students’ texts created by writing.
15 Courses that Use Writing vs. Courses that Teach Writing 6.Response tends to focus on quality and accuracy of student thought and engagement.Response tends to focus on these plus matters of presentation (rhetorical effectiveness, adherence to conventions, correct mechanics, etc.)7.Types of writing assigned may be to facilitate learning or to emulate professional discourse.Ditto.8.Can be used in any class, large or small.Requires relatively fewer students because of time involved.9.Presumes no special knowledge on the part of the instructor.9. Asks instructors to possess knowledge about developing writing abilities and conventions of target genres. Doug Hesse, Univ. of Denver
16 What Do You Do with Writing Once You Get It? Respond: To give informal reactions to text.Assess: To see how a student’s, or a class’s, body of work lines up with program or institutional objectives.Evaluate: To compare work with some sort of marker, benchmark, or standard.Grade: To condense all data into one symbol. Bradley Peters, Northern Illinois U., Council of Writing Program Admin.Assessment: What is. (Example of Weight Watchers: we weigh in every Tuesday to assess what is, where we are.Evaluation: What is in light of what should be. (Then, on Tuesdays, we compare where we are to where we should be.)(Thanks to Dr. Sharon Teets)
17 False Premises About Evaluation Instructors should write a lot in the margins and between the lines.Instructors ought to know and use many specific grammatical rules and terms if they want to comment effectively.The most effective responses to student writing are instructor-written comments on the final copy. Joyce MacAllister, “Responding to Student Writing”Every piece of writing needs to be graded.There is evidence that time spent meticulously commenting on every aspect of a student’s paper does little good, especially if comments are generic ones like “awkward,” “be specific,” etc.You know what is good writing in your discipline; if something looks wrong to your eye, you don’t have to tell a student that a past perfect verb tense is needed or that the student has a comma splice caused by faulty use of a conjunctive adverb; just put a squiggly line under the offending passage.The most effective responses, bar none, are any responses prior to grading. Often, some of the most effective responses are from peer groups.Sometimes, you might want to assess the student learning in your class on a particular day. You might ask them as their exit ticket from class to write either a one-two sentence summary of the most important information covered that day, make a comment that they wish they had made but didn’t, or ask a question which they would like you to address the next class meeting. These you would not grade, but would use to assess the level of class learning or competency/ Or, you might begin class by asking students to write for 5 minutes in response to their assigned reading for the day. You could give such assignments a system of check+, check, or check-, or points.These, however, are not long, polished pieces of writing; they serve a different purpose.
18 Tips for Assessing Writing 1. Tie the writing task to specific pedagogical goals. 2. Give written assignments that include your criteria for grading to make your expectations clear. 3. Weight your grading criteria to reflect your course priorities. 4. Require more than one draft of an assignment.1. What specific course objectives will the assignment meet?Note specific skills that will contribute to the final product.Sequence activities (reading, researching, writing) to build toward the final product and to inhibit plagiarism.4. Don’t be the first person to see these: use peer groups if you have time in class, or have students exchange drafts of a paper to respond to with checklists for homework.
19 Tips for Assessing Writing 5. Make good student papers available to illustrate features of strong work.6. Set ground rules for yourself, and clearly convey to students what they can and cannot expect in terms of your response.7. Develop a response rubric—a list of elements of the paper that you can check off.8. Use evaluation options: choice depends on type, complexity, and purpose of assignment.Doug Hesse, “Response to Student Writing”6. Tell them, for example, that your written comments will address only one main strength and one main area for improvement, if that’s what you choose to do. Cover other aspects of the paper with response or grading rubric. When you are grading, don’t feel compelled to mark everything, and certainly don’t edit everything.
20 Some Evaluation Options Credit/No creditRead and possibly share with classAccept/Revise/RejectHolistic ScoringAnalytic ScoringDichotomous ScalesRating Features ScalesGeneralized ChecklistsWeighted Analytic ScalesResponse/Grading RubricsFor the first three options, you might want to put a check mark in your grade book, you might take up in-class work (a summary of the main points, questions about class that day) and choose some to read at the beginning of the next class to focus discussion. Some work you may choose simply to accept, revise, or reject it.
21 Holistic ScoringOne score that considers all criteria at the same time.Read quickly; score immediately.Don’t reread.Read the entire paper.Read for what has been done well, not poorly.Take everything into account: content, organization, grammar, style, etc.Rank papers against others in the group.
22 Holistic Scoring Scale 6 The paper receiving a score of 6 generally has abundant,Extremely good details. The paper shows style and thought, and oftenProficient there is a strong sense of the writer. This paper has fewerrors, as the writer seems in command of sentencestructure and mechanics.5 The 5 paper is also detailed and developed with someProficient sense of the writer showing through. The writer seems tounderstand sentence construction although problems withgrammar and spelling can begin to arise.4 The 4 paper usually has a thesis developed in someModerately significant way with support, although the paper may beginProficient to lose focus, and it is not as detailed as a 5 and 6.Usually there is a sense of sentence construction eventhough it is not too sophisticated. Sometimes paragraphproblems begin to appear.3 The 3 paper provides a clear picture of the subject or aSlightly sense of the writer, but it is developed with generalities.Deficient Grammatical, spelling, and sentence errors begin todominate the papers.2 A 2 paper either has very limited and weakDeficient development and some grammatical/mechanical errors, orit attempts some development and is full of errors.1 A 1 paper extremely short with virtually noSeriously development at all. (In a few instances, a 1 may be givenDeficient for an off-topic paper in which the student did notunderstand the topic at all.)
23 Holistic Scoring Uses For papers in large or small classes For “micro themes”For “one-minute essays”For journal entries
24 Dichotomous Scales Feature “Yes” or “No” responses. Useful in program evaluation of a common set of writing characteristics.Example:Is there a thesis statement? Yes __ No __Is there thoughtful analysis? Yes__ No __Are sources used correctly? Yes__ No __
25 MLA Format: Brief Assessment General Format:1. Yes No Essay's first page has correct format for margins, headers, double-spacing, student's name, the teacher's name, the course, and the date in the upper left-hand corner as required by MLA,2. Yes No Long quotations (four lines or more) are indented in block format (i.e., the left margin is adjusted by a full two tabs, but no special indentation appears on the right-hand side of the page) and the period appears in the correct location with the parenthetical citation.3. Yes No Student judiciously uses ellipses correctly to indicate missing material and uses spacing before and after each period, or the student uses brackets [like so] around additional inserted material for clarity or grammatical consistency.4. Yes No Student introduces and integrates quotations smoothly into the content of the essay--the student explains quotations and gives context for the reader rather than inserting inert quotations.5. Yes No Students cites paraphrasing in such a way that it is clear where their own ideas begin and end and where source material begins and ends.Works Cited:6. Yes No Each line of the Works Cited page is double-spaced.7. Yes No The Works Cited page uses hanging indentation in which the first line of each entry is flush with the left-margin and subsequent lines within each entry are indented one tab.8. Yes No Student includes the Works Cited information for each entry in the appropriate order leaving out unnecessary abbreviations like "Vol." and "No." and "p."9. Yes No Student alphabetizes entries by author's last name or by title if no author or editor is given.10. Yes No Student remembers to use abbreviated format for lengthy URLs for databases like JSTOR, InfoTrac.This is one of the ways that we in the English Department are assessing our students’ ability to use MLA documentation. As a department, one of our goals is to have students learn how to use MLA format correctly. Therefore, we have agreed to use this form to assess each student’s learning on the research paper toward the end of the course.Taking the numbers from each of us as a part of our total class enrollment will let us know how we as a department are doing in achieving this goal.
26 Analytic Scoring Guides Quality of Ideas (______ points)Range and depth of argument; logic of argument;; quality of research or originalthought; appropriate sense of complexity of the topic; appropriate awareness ofopposing views.Organization and Development (______ points)Effective title; clarity of thesis statement; logical and clear arrangement of ideas;effective use of transitions; unity and coherence or paragraphs, good developmentof ideas through supporting details and evidence.Clarity and Style (______ points)Ease of readability; appropriate voice, tone and style for assignment; clarity ofsentence structure; gracefulness of sentence structure; appropriate variety andmaturity of sentence structure.Sentence Structure and Mechanics (______ points)Grammatically correct sentences; absence of comma splices, run-one, fragments;absence of usage and grammatical errors; accurate spelling; careful proofreading;attractive and appropriate manuscript form.(Bean, Engaging Ideas )The advantage of this type of guide is that it allows you to weight different items according to your course objectives. For example, since the first two categories have to do with content, these might receive more weight than the last two: perhaps 50, 30, 10, and 10, etc.
27 Analytic Scoring Guides Quality of Ideas (50 points)Range and depth of argument; logic of argument;; quality of research or originalthought; appropriate sense of complexity of the topic; appropriate awareness ofopposing views.Organization and Development (30 points)Effective title; clarity of thesis statement; logical and clear arrangement of ideas;effective use of transitions; unity and coherence or paragraphs, good developmentof ideas through supporting details and evidence.Clarity and Style (10 points)Ease of readability; appropriate voice, tone and style for assignment; clarity ofsentence structure; gracefulness of sentence structure; appropriate variety andmaturity of sentence structure.Sentence Structure and Mechanics (10 points)Grammatically correct sentences; absence of comma splices, run-one, fragments;absence of usage and grammatical errors; accurate spelling; careful proofreading;attractive and appropriate manuscript form.(Bean, Engaging Ideas )For example, since the first two categories have to do with content, these might receive more weight than the last two: perhaps 50, 30, 10, and 10, etc.
28 Diederich Scale for Raters of Writing 1 = Poor2 = Weak3 = Average4 = Good5 = ExcellentCategories of Writing Qualities:Quality and development of ideas(textual evidence & analysis)Organization, relevance, movement_______ x5 = ______subtotalStyle, flavor, individualityWording and phrasing_______ x3 = ______Grammar, sentence structurePunctuationSpellingManuscript form, legibility, MLA_______ x1 = ______ subtotalTotal Grade = _________The advantage of this particular scale is that it allows you to show the student exactly where his/her strengths and/or weaknesses lie, plus it weights the elements: here content is worth 50 points, style and wording 30, and mechanics 20.
29 Diederich Scale for Raters of Writing 1 = Poor2 = Weak3 = Average4 = Good5 = ExcellentCategories of Writing Qualities:Quality and development of ideas(textual evidence & analysis)Organization, relevance, movementx5 = 30subtotalStyle, flavor, individualityWording and phrasing____6__ x3 = _18____Grammar, sentence structurePunctuationSpellingManuscript form, legibility, MLA___12____ x1 = _12_____ subtotalTotal Grade = __60_______The problem, however, is that a student who does what we might consider “C” level work, or straight 3’s would have a final score of 60—failing!! For that reason, you have to convert the raw score into its grade book equivalent (see next slide).
30 Diederich Conversion Chart Converted Scale: Grade Book:Poor = 1 = F Below 30A = 98Weak = 2 = D A- = 94Average = 3 = C B+ = 93Good = 4 = B B = 90Excellent = 5 = A B- = 85C+ = 83C = 80C- = 75D+ = 74D = 72D- = 70F = 64This method tends to be slightly more complicated, because once you have the raw number, you must convert it to the appropriate grade for the grade book. For our score of 6o, we first find where it lines up in the middle chart above: it’s between 50 and 69, so it is about a mid C (look to the left). The mid-level C on the chart on the far right is an 80, so that is the grade that is recorded.
31 Diederich Conversion Chart Converted Scale: Grade Book:Poor = 1 = F Below 30A = 98Weak = 2 = D A- = 94Average = 3 = C B+ = 93Good = 4 = B B = 90Excellent = 5 = A B- = 85C+ = 83C = 80C- = 75D+ = 74D = 72D- = 70F = 64This method tends to be slightly more complicated, because once you have the raw number, you must convert it to the appropriate grade for the grade book. For our score of 6o, we first find where it lines up in the middle chart above: it’s between 50 and 69, so it is about a mid C (look to the left). The mid-level C on the chart on the far right is an 80, so that is the grade that is recorded.
32 Rubrics: Why Use?Save time; keeps from repeatedly saying the same thingsMake grading more efficientMake grading more consistentHelp students know what to expect/how to respond to assignmentCan more easily assess group learningRecognized as a valid measure by some accrediting bodies
33 Creating Grading Rubrics for Writing/Research Assignments Step One: Identifying the criteria.What are the assignment’s learning outcomes or objectives?Step Two: Weighting criteria.What should count the most?Ten ranked items is usually upper limit.Use specific and descriptive criteria.Step Three: Describing levels of success.Numerical scalesDescriptorsStep Four: Creating and distributing the grid.(Pamela Flash, Assoc. Dir., CISW, Univ. of Minnesota)
34 Sample Writing Rubric Weak Satisfactory Strong Insights and ideas that are germane to assignmentAddress of target audienceChoices and use of evidenceLogic of organization and use of prescribed formatsIntegration of source materialsGrammar and mechanicsCommentsFinal Grade
35 Sample Writing Rubric 1 = not present, 2 = needs extensive revision, 3 = satisfactory, 4 = strong, 5 = outstanding12345Insights and ideasAddress of target audienceOrganization and use of prescribed formatsIntegration of source materialsGrammar and mechanicsComments/Final Grade
36 English Department Rubric for Essays Assessment12345Thesis/enthymeme is clearly stated, makes a point that is thought provoking, and reflects critical thinking.Content reflects college-level thinking.Paragraphs are well-organized; topic sentences and transitions are used effectively to introduce and link body paragraphsParagraphs are well-developed; examples, quotations, images, or other specific details are used effectively as support.Sentence structure is economical and varied.Language is precise, appropriate.Essay avoids errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and proofreading.The writer demonstrates an individual voice.This is the rubric that we in the English Department use to assess our students on the goals that we have determined as a department that are important for our general education courses. We can use these in our own classes to see how well our students are doing; we can learn individually in our own classes what areas we might need to stress more or approach differently. Then we can combine numbers from all of our classes to see how we are doing as a department in achieving our goals.
37 WAC PrinciplesStudents learn more when they are engaged with the subject.Writing is a unique tool for engaging students in learning.Not every piece of writing needs to be graded or lead to a final product for learning to occur.You are the best person to teach students how to use writing in your disciplinary field.Students will regard writing as important for all disciplines, and not just English, when they see other professors valuing it as a means for learning and its necessity for job performance.
38 Works CitedBean, John. Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrting Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1996.Burke, Kenneth. The Philosophy of Literary Form. 3rd ed., U of California P,Emig, Janet. “Writing as a Mode of Learning.” College Composition and Communication 28 (May 1977):Hesse, Doug. “Response to Student Writing: Thirteen Ways of Looking at It.”“Writing beyond Classes: Useful Strategies for Busy Professors.” Univ. of Denver. April“Learning Pyramid.” National Training Laboratories. Bethel, Maine. The Abilene Christian University Adams Center for Teaching Excellence Oct
39 Works CitedMacAllister, Joyce. “Responding to Student Writing.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning: Teaching Writing in All Disciplines, no. 12. San Francisco: Josey-Bass, 1982.McLeod-Porter, Delma. “Guidelines for Assessing Writing in Writing Enriched Courses: How to Mark Student Papers and Retain Your Sanity.” PowerPoint Presentation, McNeese State U., 2007.The National Commission on Writing. The Neglected “R”: The Need for a Writing Revolution. College Board, 2003.Writing: A Ticket to Work…or a Ticket Out, A Survey of Business Leaders. College Board, 2004.Writing: A Powerful Message from State Government. College Board, 2005.
40 Works CitedPeters, Bradley. Council of Writing Program Administrators Listserv. 24 Oct“Rubrics.” St. John’s Univ. 26 Octreassessment/rubrics.printYoung, Art. Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999.