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.
|Data Collection||Purpose||Nationally Standardized Data Source||Locally Developed Data Source||Finding|
|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 required||• Syllabi Study based on national WAC model*||• Most syllabi include little information about writing assignments|
|Student experiences||Understand 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 writing||• NSSE Topical Module: Writing||• EvaluationKIT|
• 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 practices||Identify policies & practices that impact writing||• ACT English Placement||• Policy 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|