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Developmental Writing Instructors’ Inquiry into Writing across Curriculum Developmental English WACUM Team South Texas College Jinhao Wang, Ed.D. Karen.

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Presentation on theme: "Developmental Writing Instructors’ Inquiry into Writing across Curriculum Developmental English WACUM Team South Texas College Jinhao Wang, Ed.D. Karen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Developmental Writing Instructors’ Inquiry into Writing across Curriculum Developmental English WACUM Team South Texas College Jinhao Wang, Ed.D. Karen Armitano, Ph.D. Virgina Norquest, M.A. Jose Perez, M.A. Michael Scales, M.A. Xin Zuo, Ph.D. NADE Presentation February 25-28, 2009 Boston, MA

2 Writing to Learn —What do scholars say? --Writing promotes clear thinking and critical thinking (Berthoff, 1981); --Writing helps students learn to synthesize, analyze, and build connections among concepts (Emig, 77); --Writing challenges passive learning and routine training (Fulwiler, 1990).

3 Writing to Learn --What are colleges in the nation doing? 1. Integrate writing in curricular requirements 2. Implement writing through teaching practices 3. Conduct faculty professional development in WACUM 4. Publish literature on WACUM 5. Provide resources to support WACUM online

4 Writing to Learn --What STC is doing? 1.Some instructors integrate writing in their curriculum in the form of opinion essays, responses to textbook chapters, summary of chapters, mid-term, and final exams. 2.Learning community courses link writing courses with other academic discipline courses. 3.WACUM committee in the past 4.WACUM pilot project ( Spring 2008, Fall 2008)

5 STC WACUM Pilot Project The Purpose of the WACUM Pilot Program To support students’ writing in academic disciplines by offering WACUM tutoring; To support faculty’s effort in using writing as a tool for promoting active learning by dialoguing with faculty in academic disciplines; To investigate students’ difficulties with writing; To examine the direct impact of faculty tutoring on students’ performance.

6 WACUM Participating Faculty

7 Basic Design of the Program 1. The content area instructors selected a pilot group and a control group in their teaching area. 2. The pilot groups were required to attend tutoring on their writing assignments. 3. The Developmental English participants offered tutoring and kept tutoring logs which documented both the students’ need for assistance and the instructors’ perception of the students’ writing difficulties. tutoring logs 4. The Developmental English instructors visited the pilot classes to encourage students to attend tutoring. 5. A qualitative analysis of the students’ writing difficulties as perceived by both students and faculty was conducted; 6. The pilot groups’ writing assignment mean scores, final course pass rates, and retention rates were compared with those of the control groups.

8 Other components of the program 1. Conduct professional development workshops 2. Design WACUM Webpage 3. Institutionalize the WACUM program at STC

9 Participants’ Demographic Information CategorySub-CategoryPilot GroupControl Group # of students111114 GenderMale41.4%43 Female58.6%57 Age18-2988.3%93.9% 30-398.1%4.3% 40-491.8%0 50-591.8% EthnicityCaucasian4.5%.9% African American1.8%0 Hispanic88.3%97.4% American Indian.9%0 International4.5%.9 Asian/Pacific00 Not reported0.9

10 WACUM Pilot Program Findings Students’ Writing Difficulties: 1. Areas identified by both students and faculty: A). Grammar/Mechanics (35 number of times identified by students vs 36 number of times identified by faculty) B). Clarity/Making sense (18 vs 17) C). Structure/Logical organization (24 vs 35) D). Meeting assignment expectations (11 vs 7) 2. Areas identified more by faculty than by students: A). Relevance/Staying on topic (11 vs 3) B). Thesis statements/topic sentence use (10 vs 0) C). Using research information (3 vs 0)

11 WACUM Pilot Program Findings Writing assignment mean scores: Pilot Class A----80Pilot Class B-----89 Control Class A-80Control Class B--84 Pilot Class C-----55Pilot Class D-----136.9 Control Class C—48Control Class D—136.4 Pilot groups appeared to have higher writing mean scores.

12 WACUM Pilot Program Findings Final course pass rates(“A”,”B”,”C”)comparison: Pilot Group-------66% (73/111) Control Group----75% (85/114) [Chi-Square Test revealed no statistically significant difference (χ2 = 2.08, P =.149) between these two groups’ pass rates] Withdraw rates (“W”) comparison: Pilot Group--------11% (12/111) Control Group---- 11% (13/114) [No difference between these two groups’ retention rates]

13 Discussion 1.Qualitative analysis of tutoring logs revealed that students were more concerned with their grammar and mechanics, making sense, and meeting instructors’ requirements. 2.Students were less aware of the issues related to staying on topic, using thesis statements, topic sentences, and using research information (how to embed research information in the text, how to cite sources). 3. Writing in specific disciplines should focus on the instruction of these areas.

14 Discussion (Continued) 3. Faculty tutoring did not seem to have significant impact on students’ performance; however,…… 4. There were extraneous variables: A. Instructors had a difficult time getting students to come to tutoring (only 80 out of 111 pilot group students came to tutoring) B. Instructors reported difference in day time students/evening students (future research needs to control this variable). C. Content area participating instructors teach writing to both pilot group and control group students, possibly evening out the tutoring effect.

15 Recommendations for Institutionalizing WACUM Program at STC STC WACUM program jointly run by English Department Developmental English Department Center for Learning Excellence Activities designed by the English Curriculum Alignment Taskforce

16 Proposed activities 1.Faculty tutoring 2.WACUM workshops 3.Online support 4.Learning Community Classes 5.First-year experience—Coordinated curriculum integrating writing projects on similar themes

17 Strategies for Using Writing to Learn Writing to demonstrate learning – High stakes (essay exams, essays, research papers graded by instructors for grades) Writing to learn — Low stakes (in-class writing, journals, etc. not for a grade) The goal is to use writing to learn, understand, remember, and figure out what you do not yet know. (Elbow, 1994)

18 Strategies for Using Writing to Learn Low-stakes writing: 1.Writing at beginning of class: (to get students on track) A. Recall and recap the previous lecture (ex. What was life like in colonial period?) B. Recall and report on the homework reading assignment (ex. What impressed you most when you were reading about the revolutionary war?) C. Express personal opinions on the topic to be covered in the current class (ex. Do you think America should have stayed as part of Great Britain? Why or Why not?)

19 Strategies for Using Writing to Learn Low-stakes writing: 2. Writing in mid-class (to wake students up): A. Write down what question has come up during the lecture (ex. What did the Embargo Act of 1807 do to the nation’s economy?) B. Respond to a point of view presented by the textbook so far (Do you think the President’s right to appoint high-ranking officials should be checked by the Senate?) C. Summarize what the teacher has just said.

20 Strategies for Using Writing to Learn Low-stakes writing: 3. Writing at end of class: (to solidify class information) A. Summarize what has been discussed. B. Write down what you have learned and what you still have questions about. C. Report what has been going on in class (Recall how the teacher presented the Kinetic- Molecular Theory and what questions were asked by the students and what were the answers).

21 Strategies for Using Writing to Learn Low-stakes writing: 4. Journal writing: A. Reading journals: Summarize & Respond to the reading B. Thinking journals: Personal opinions about controversial issues C. Lecture journals: Reflect on and respond to what has been going on in class

22 Strategies for Using Writing to Learn High-Stakes Writing (to demonstrate learning): --Formal Essays (thesis statement, coherently structured, fully developed, carefully edited) Several short essays are better than one long term paper (Elbow, 1994). Derive the essays from the thinking journals (Elbow, 1994). --Portfolios Select written work from the whole semester’s writing.

23 References Berthoff, A. (1981). Speculative instruments: Language in the core curriculum. In A. Berthoff, The making of meaning: Metaphors, models, and maxims for writing Teachers making of meaning: Metaphors, models, and maxims for writing teachers (pp. 113- 126). Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook. Elbow, P. (1994). Writing for learning—Not just for demonstrating learning. Retrieved December 19, 2007, from Emig, J. (1977). Writing as a mode of learning. College Composition and Communication 28, 122-127. Fulwiler, T. (1990, March). The friends and enemies of writing across the curriculum. Paper presented at Conference of College Composition and Communication. Retrieved November 1, 2007, from http://www.iub.edu

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