First-Year Writing Program
The First-Year Writing Program Two-Year Pilot Report, prepared by Ginny Crisco, Magda Gilewicz, Rick Hansen, Asao Inoue, and Bo Wang, includes almost two years of formal research and informal observations about what the new first-year writing program has done for student learning, placement, and support. The successes of the new program include: 1) enhanced teaching effectiveness, 2) improved student attitudes and motivation, 3) creating learning communities, 4) generating community assessment through portfolios, and 4) eliminating stigma of support services. The challenges of the new program include: 1) student advising, and 2) assessment research.
The First-Year Writing Portfolio Assessment Project Report, prepared by Ginny Crisco and Jennifer Mayer, uses qualitative research to compare the final portfolios of students in the English 5A/5B track with the students in English 10 (spring 2007). Sponsored by the office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Planning, we collected 120 portfolios from 10 teachers’ classes, 5 from English 10 and 5 from English 5B, to code for particular portfolio outcome categories: 1) Joining Academic Conversations, 2) Language Use, 3) Reading Engagement, 4) Reflection, 5) Research, 6) Writing Process, and 7) Writing Rhetorically. This research found that while all students made progress in each of these categories, students who took the two semester stretch course created more sophisticated, complex, and interesting writing.
The Directed Self Placement Program Preliminary Research Findings, prepared by Ginny Crisco, reports research from the first year of the new writing program. This research includes survey data acquired from students, teacher focus groups about how the new first-year writing program was working, and thesis research from Elizabeth Sansone. In particular, it reports survey data taken from beginning and end of the semester / option surveys to track both why and how students made their decisions as well as their satisfaction with these decisions. Additionally, the teacher focus groups asked teachers to gauge how students placed themselves and how the curriculum was working for them and for students. These preliminary findings show that 1) students, for the most part, did place themselves appropriately; 2) students mostly had enough information to make their decision, relied on four primary venues for decision-making, and were glad, for the most part, that they could make a choice; and 3) students’ morale and confidence have improved with the new program. Finally, the report points to the benefits of the new program in reducing the broad levels of student experience and pointing to the benefit of English 5A/B as a learning community.
The First Year Writing Program Assessment report, prepared by Asao B. Inoue, shows the effectiveness of the DSP program and the student learning occurring in the writing program from a variety of direct and indirect evidence: portfolio ratings, portfolio competency measures, teacher commenting data, entry and exit surveys, passing rates, and grade distributions. From these data, the DSP placements appear to be appropriate and effective for students learning. Additionally, the writing program demonstrates learning growth along all outcomes and high levels of satisfaction.
The DSP Retention and Passing Report from IRAP uses statistical analyses to compare the English 5A/5B program to its predecessor, English 1. The new stretch program has a positive effect on student retention rates, especially for those who are designated as needing remediation by the university, regardless of whether students pass or fail English 5B. Additionally, remedial students in English 5A/5B perform better than the same students did in the old English 1LA course, passing at higher rates.