WAC Project Document

NC States College-Wide Assessment of Writing Project
This project will assess our students’ ability to communicate effectively in writing.
According to the Higher Learning Commission (North Central Association), “Assessment
programs measure student learning at multiple points: course, program and institutional”
(“Proposed New Criteria for Accreditation, 2002, Criterion 3: Student Learning and
Effective Teaching”). Therefore, we need to assess the writing of students approaching
graduation as well as earlier in their college careers. This project will help us to assure:
a) That students have attained the outcome of effective communication in writing
b) Improvements in how students learn to write
c) Adequate data to satisfy accrediting bodies, the legislature, and the public,
relative to our student’s learning.
In 2002 The Curriculum Committee released the final report of the Proactive Curriculum
Review Project. As part of this project, an ad hoc committee developed a definition and
philosophy for general education at NC State. Subsequently, each division of the college
developed a similar model that included core areas of knowledge, intellectual skills, and
attitudes. In the third phase of the project, the academic departments, through a courseby-course analysis, documented where each of the core area goals was addressed. As
part of the Proactive Curriculum Review Project report, every division stressed the ability
to communicate effectively in writing as a core goal for their students.
In 2003-04, the Assessment Committee selected the outcome, “to communicate
effectively in writing,” for college-wide assessment in the next few years. Through the
efforts of the committee and the English Department, principles and procedures for the
project were drafted and an assessment tool (the writing rubric) was developed. In
Spring of 2004, guidelines for the use of the writing rubric were developed and training
sessions were offered to faculty. These sessions will again be offered to faculty in
academic year 2004-05.
Principles and Procedures
In setting up this project, the Assessment Committee has been guided by the following
principles and procedures:
 This is a college-wide project.
 Student learning regarding the outcome occurs in many courses.
 Assessment of the outcome is done by the program and/or department faculty to
assess the students’ ability to communicate effectively in writing as defined by the
program/department and/or profession.
 Criteria for success will be established by the program/department.
Deans/supervisors will assist in the identification of courses and faculty where
assessment will occur.
 Assessment of the outcome will occur near the end of the program/department
curriculum (near graduation), possibly in capstone courses or projects.
 Samples of students will be selected for assessment – not the entire population of
 Reports will be submitted (using the 5-column report form) to the Assessment
Committee and Assessment Coordinator for review.
 The project will be pilot-tested in 2004-05, evaluated and revised as needed, then
implemented in 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2008-09.