College of Education, Health, & Human Sciences – UW‐Stout Writing Guidelines and Rubric

Writing is a form of thinking; to write well is to think well. As a form of communication, writing takes place in
our absence. When someone reads something we have written, our writing takes the place of our audible voice.
Therefore, when we write, we must be certain what we have said can be understood in our absence. To write
effectively demands that the writer have a clear idea of what he/she wants to say. Writing is thinking linearly—
in a straight line, placing words together, making it possible for the reader to see the relationship between ideas.
Editing is central to the writing process and is continuous throughout.
As we would not serve dinner guests on dirty dishes, we would not communicate our best ideas in inappropriate
language. Hence, writing guidelines have been adopted for the College of Education, Health, and Human
Sciences to support the work initiated in the English Department. The guidelines have been reviewed multiple
times by faculty, staff, and students. The writing guidelines have several purposes: to communicate the
importance of writing to the disciplines represented within CEHHS, to inform students of writing
expectations, to enhance consistency across the curriculum, to build upon the foundation communication
coursework, and to assist faculty and staff in the assessment of student writing.
Although use of the guidelines is at the discretion of individual faculty and staff, emphasizing quality writing is
highly encouraged in every academic course. It is intended that the guidelines are developmental in nature.
The expected proficiency level should increase as students progress through their undergraduate work and into
graduate level courses.
Writing is crucial to learning in all subject areas and is the primary instrument for documenting academic
competence. Adhering to the appropriate writing conventions of the disciplines ensures the reader understands
the structure of writing in professional fields. Quality writing is a threshold skill for employment and
advancement. It is hoped all instructors, whatever subjects they teach, will continue to incorporate
meaningful, rigorous writing assignments into their courses. With the guidelines as groundwork, students are
more likely to develop an approach to deeper learning and submit well written assignments.
The primary resource identified to help faculty, staff and students is Purdue’s Online Writing Lab
(OWL), which features exercises, presentations, podcasts, and a variety of career writing resources.
Access the OWL at: A secondary resource is Diana
Hacker’s book Rules for Writers, which all freshman English students at Stout are required to purchase.
Access the instructor site for Hacker’s book at:
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Reviewers: Provide an assessment and a rationale for your assessment in each area listed below. Reviewees: If your writing is marked as Needs Improvement in an area, click the appropriate links below to learn how to improve in that area. All links are to the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Other references are to Rules for Writers (RFW), and Research and Documentation for the Electronic Age (R&D). Evidence of Competency Planning Rationale Assessment for (e.g., Needs Improvement, Assessment
Meets Competency) 1. Chooses appropriate formats and structures (essays, blogs, reports, emails, web pages) to communicate their ideas (the rhetorical situation; RFW p. 59: document design). 2. Tailors writing assignments for a defined purpose and particular audience (audience analysis overview; introduction to prewriting; tone in business writing; RFW p. 3: checklist for assessing the writing situation; RFW p. 8: audience; R&D p. 34: researching in the humanities; R&D p. 72: researching in the social sciences). 3. Plans a writing project and prepare a first rough draft (starting the writing process; introduction to prewriting; four main components for effective outlines; prewriting activities and drafting; RFW p. 20: roughing out an initial draft). 4. Demonstrates an understanding that research, like writing, requires a series of tasks (research: where do I begin?; using research; the writing process; RFW p. 1: the writing process, p. 381: research; R&D p. 2: research questions and search strategies). 5. Completes multiple drafts over a period of time that incorporate revisions based on reflection and feedback from the writer and other critical readers (proofreading: where to begin; the paramedic method of revision; higher order and lower order concerns; revising for cohesion; RFW p. 27: making revisions). Structure 6. Organizes and logically structures arguments, opinions, findings, and conclusions (organizing your argument; logic in argumentative writing; RFW p. 47: constructing reasonable arguments). 7. Enhances the flow of written work by connecting ideas through the use of transitional and rhetorical devices. A rhetorical device attempts to make the argument stronger through grammatical constructions (writing transitions; using rhetorical strategies for persuasion; RFW p. 40: building effective paragraphs). 8. Composes a thesis sentence that defines the idea(s) that the paper will develop and leads the writer and the reader logically through the idea to be presented (tips and examples for writing thesis statements; developing strong thesis statements; on paragraphs; RFW p. 16: formulating a tentative thesis. 2 Mechanics 9. Uses correct English syntax, grammar, sentence structure, spelling, verb tenses, etc. (sequence of tenses; five principles of readability; grammar; identifying independent and dependent clauses; introductory clauses; gerunds; commas after introductions; spelling common words that sound alike; RFW p. 79: clarity, p. 106: shifts in tenses, p. 147: grammar, p. 219: sequence of tenses p. 269: punctuation, p. 327: spelling, p. 543: sentence patterns). 10. Uses correct principles of pronoun and subject‐verb agreement (using pronouns clearly; making subjects and verbs agree; RFW p. 175: agreement of pronouns with verbs, agreement of pronouns with antecedents). 11. Uses correct principles of possession (the apostrophe; defining clauses; RFW p. 191: possessives with gerunds, p. 531: possessive pronouns). 12. Uses parallel structure (parallel structure ; parallel structure in professional writing; RFW p. 52: parallelism in paragraphs, p. 64: parallelism in headings, p. 84: parallelism in sentences). Scholarly Quality 13. Uses writing and reading to demonstrate competence in inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating: critical thinking and reading (conducting research). 14. Integrates one’s own ideas with the ideas of others (safe practices; avoiding plagiarism; RFW p. 405: managing information and avoiding plagiarism, p. 483: integrating sources). 15. Demonstrates the ability to access, retrieve, critically evaluate, analyze, and synthesize appropriate information from sources that vary in content, format, structure, and scope (sources; R&D p. 8: finding and evaluating sources) Professional and ethical standards 16. Supports a position with evidence from reputable sources (evaluating sources; R&D p. 22: evaluating sources). 17. Adheres to the APA style of documentation unless a different style is required for a specific course (APA formatting and style guide; RFW p. 476: writing APA papers; R&D p. 186: APA style). 18. Adheres to legal and ethical uses of information and technology, including copyright and intellectual property (strategies for fair use; RFW p. 489: documenting sources). Additional comments: 3