Writing Center

University Writing Center Assessment Plan
1. List the OBJECTIVES of the program.
The University Writing Center will
 provide an accessible, comfortable, collaborative environment for writers of all
 foster the growth and confidence of writers by clarifying and promoting
techniques of effective writing;
 collaborate with other departments and programs, including Writing Across
the Curriculum (WAC) and English as a Second Language (ESL), in an effort
to provide a comprehensive, consistent educational experience for all WSU
 serve as a writing resource for the university community and beyond through
the Writing Center web page, presentations and workshops, and our Writer’s
 enhance the academic experiences of writing consultants employed in the
Writing Center by encouraging professional development and frequent selfreflection on their roles as tutors and writers.
2. Explain how the department or program will know the extent to which
OBJECTIVES are achieved (alumni or other surveys, employment data, etc.).
The Writing Center will gather feedback on its performance in a number of ways:
 evaluations by faculty, particularly developmental and ESL writing instructors
 quarterly evaluation of the writing center by student clients with standing
 ongoing evaluation of the writing center by one-time or walk-in clients
 portfolios submitted by DEV 092 students
 follow-up study of selected clients (e.g., students who have successfully
completed DEV 092 in the past three or four years)
 evaluations solicited from other clients (e.g., faculty requesting class
presentations, users of the Writer’s Hotline or OWL)
 research projects carried out by writing consultants and administrative staff
 exit interviews with graduating writing consultants
 study of consultants’ post-writing center experiences
3. List the OUTCOMES of the program.
The Writing Center will assess four learning and service outcomes:
 Improved student writing
 Increased student confidence about writing
 Enhanced academic experiences of writing consultants through professional
development activities
 Satisfaction of student, faculty, and other users of the service
4. List and briefly describe the MEASURES that will be used to assess each
learning outcome.
Faculty evaluations will be used to gauge faculty perceptions of improvement
in student writing and confidence (indirect measure)
Client evaluations will be used to gauge clients perceptions of improvement in
their writing (indirect measure), confidence (direct measure) and level of
service (direct measure)
DEV 092 portfolios provide a direct measure of improved student writing;
student reflections included as part of the portfolio provide indirect measure of
increased confidence
Research projects carried out by writing consultants and administrative staff
will be used to monitor writing improvement (a direct measure in that
consultants see a client’s work each week); these projects are also a means
of monitoring consultants’ progress as writing tutors (indirect measure
supplemented by day-to-day dir4ect observation of administrative staff)
Exit interviews with graduating writing consultants and studies of consultants’
post-writing center experience are means of assessing the writing center’s
impact on its student employees
Evaluations solicited from other clients measure their satisfaction with
services, as will the rate of repeat uses
5. Describe how learning outcomes are made MEASURABLE and
BENCHMARKS or other determinants of success are set.
For the Likert-scaled sections of questionnaires and surveys, the target is having
two-thirds of the responses fall into the “agree” and “strongly agree” range. In the
tracking project, writing consultants and clients record a set of goals for the
quarter, and the final report indicates the degree to which those goals are met.
The other forms of assessment are primarily formative rather than summative.
6. Describe the process by which FINDINGS will be derived from the measures.
Data from surveys and other regularly scheduled assessment activities are
compiled by the administrative staff at the end of each quarter, with responses
from weekly clients sorted according to their writing consultant. The
administrative staff analyzes the data, looking for both numerical trends and
patterns within anecdotal responses.
7. Describe the process by which findings are analyzed to determine what
IMPROVEMENTS should be made to better meet objectives and learning
The administrative staff will evaluate writing center policies in light of findings and
make adjustments as needed. Highlights of the clients’ evaluations are shared
with the entire staff at a staff meeting early in the subsequent quarter, and each
consultant sees his or her individual evaluations and is asked to write a brief
reflection on their tutoring practices. More extensive reflection appears in the
client tracking project each writing consultant carries out in the winter quarter.
Findings will also be shared with the coordinators of developmental writing and
ESL classes, who will be asked to provide additional suggestions for
improvement and to ask for additional feedback from instructors in those
courses. Whenever possible, the administrative staff of the Writing Center will
meet with instructors during pre-term meetings in the fall.
8. Identify a TIMETABLE for assessment.
Quarterly Assessment
Annual Assessment
Fall quarter
Winter quarter
Spring quarter
Biennial Assessment
Five-Year Assessment
Client evaluations and DEV 092 portfolios
Survey of DEV and ESL instructors
Consultants’ tracking reports
Exit interviews with graduating consultants
General faculty survey, follow-up surveys of DEV 092
clients and other clients
Post-employment consultant survey
9. Briefly explain how the program’s assessment plan supports and interacts
with ACCREDITATION and LICENSURE requirements (if applicable).
10. Describe how the objectives and learning outcomes of the program are
COMMUNICATED to students and others.
The Writing Center’s mission appears on its website and, in slightly different
forms, on other publicity materials (e.g., bookmarks). The mission is also the core
of the numerous presentations made to classes and organizations on campus.
The objectives (along with Writing Center policies) are communicated to each
regularly scheduled client during his or her first session of the term.