Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Assessing Assessment . . .

At the beginning of today’s workshop session, I polled the group to see how many people were writing center directors. Of the 22 people present, about 7 people identified as writing center directors. I guess I’m not the only one who thinks there’s something for writing center folks here . . .

One of the big issues we discussed today, for example, was assessment, a necessary if not always beloved issue in writing center administration. We discussed Brain Huot and Ellen Schendel’s "A Working Methodology of Assessment for Writing Program Administrators,” an essay I recommend to anyone looking for an entry point into assessment conversations (it’s included in The Allyn and Bacon Sourcebook for Writing Program Administrators). This resource nicely supplements the writing center-specific essays given to us by WPA workshop leaders Bud Weiser and Lauren Fitzgerald. This latter group includes copies of Jeanne Simpson’s “What Lies Ahead for Writing Centers: Position Statement on Professional Concerns,” and Mickey Harris’ “SLATE (Support for the Learning and Teaching of English) Statement: The Concept of a Writing Center.” Less particular to writing centers – but no less interesting to a director, I think, was the NCTE’s documents “Writing Assessment: A Position Statement” and “Scholarship in Composition: Guidelines for Faculty, Deans and Department Chairs.” And, of course, let us forget WPA’s own “Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition” and their “Evaluating the Intellectual Work of Writing Administration.”

If you’ve missed any of these documents, I highly recommend them as ways of thinking our work and explaining it to others. Particularly if you’ve got twenty hours of daylight, as we have here in Anchorage!

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