Data Collection

In order to understand why students weren’t writing as well as we thought they should be, we identified 10 questions we needed to answer.

  • How frequently do students write?
  • How much do students write?
  • What types of writing do students do?
  • How much instruction do we give?
  • What resources do we provide?
  • How clearly do we communicate expectations?
  • How much feedback do we give?
  • How important is writing?
  • How well do students write?
  • How do faculty think about and approach writing?

Through a collection of no less than 15 nationally standardized and locally tools and information sources, we were able to provide triangulated data that was remarkably consistent across findings. 

Additional Findings >

Data CollectionPurposeNationally Standardized Data SourceLocally Developed Data SourceFinding
Evaluation and assessment Determine how well NMSU students write Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA)General Education Writing Assessment
Departmental Writing Assessment
• NMSU Students are comparable to their peers
• Strengths in grammar/ mechanics
• Weaknesses in critical thinking/ organization
Writing expectations Determine how much and what kinds of writing are requiredSyllabi Study based on national WAC model*• Most syllabi include little information about writing assignments
Student experiencesUnderstand how students experience writing National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
NSSE Topical Module: Writing
• Student Focus Groups
Baccalaureate Experience (BE) Survey
• Varies across colleges
• Seniors report doing less writing related to their discipline than do freshmen
Student perceptions Understand how students think about writingNSSE Topical Module: WritingEvaluationKIT
• Student Focus Groups
BE Survey
• Students think writing is more important to them, than it is to NMSU
• More writing is associated with greater importance of writing
Faculty attitudes and beliefs Understand how faculty think about writing Faculty Surveys
• Video Interviews
• Faculty are more inclined to assign writing when they believe it is “good” for the students
• Many faculty feel it is difficult to assign writing
Policies and practicesIdentify policies & practices that impact writing ACT English PlacementPolicy and Practice-Power of 5, Peer Institutions, NMSU Catalog
IDEA Grant
• NMSU writing requirements are different than those across the state
• NMSU have very limited resources for domestic ELLs
Writing resources Identify writing resources used by students BE Survey
Syllabi Project
• Students identify the writing center and resume building workshops as writing resources