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Composition Forum 24, Fall 2011

Appendices from “Utilizing Strategic Assessment to Support FYC Curricular Revision at Murray State University”

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Paul Walker and Elizabeth Myers

This page contains all appendices from “Utilizing Strategic Assessment to Support FYC Curricular Revision at Murray State University.PDF format is also available.

  1. Appendix 1: Description of Former Two-Course Sequence (ENG 101/102) and Revised Course (ENG 105)
  2. Appendix 2: Holistic Scoring Guide
  3. Appendix 3: New Assessment Questionnaire

Appendix 1: Description of Former Two-Course Sequence (ENG 101/102) and Revised Course (ENG 105)

ENG 101 Composition

(Abbreviated Syllabus)

  1. Course Title: ENG 101 Composition

  2. Catalog Description: Instruction and practice in writing expository prose within a computer lab classroom environment.

  3. Purpose of Course: The course is designed to help students improve their writing processes, to improve students’ critical thinking skills, to increase the organizational effectiveness of the students’ writing, and to develop students’ awareness of the importance of context in writing. The students will learn the basic skills needed to write expository, analytical, and persuasive essays for college audiences.

  4. Course Objectives: As a result of this course, students should be able to demonstrate

    • writing and critical thinking skills, as reflected in substantive content

    • an awareness of audience and purpose

    • effective organization and development of ideas

    • appropriate style, diction, and voice

    • the ability to thoughtfully evaluate and productively revise their own work

    • the ability to read and analyze works by peers and professional writers

    • competence in the usage, grammar, mechanics, and punctuation expected of academic writing in English

  5. Content Outline: Students will demonstrate their participation and progress through the following activities:

    • Class presentation, debate, and discussion

    • Prewriting exercises (collected writings such as daily assignments, summaries, paraphrases)

    • Essay 1: analysis

    • Essay 2: narrative [optional]

    • Essay 3: argument

    • Essay 4: documented argument

    • Essay 5: essay exam (in-class) [optional]

ENG 102 Composition and Research

(Abbreviated Syllabus)

  1. TITLE: ENG 102: Composition and Research

  2. CATALOG DESCRIPTION: A study of advanced composition skills, with emphasis on techniques of research.

  3. PURPOSE: The course is designed to help students improve their research and argumentation skills while further developing students’ writing processes, their critical thinking skills, their contextual awareness, and the organizational effectiveness of students’ writing.

  4. COURSE OBJECTIVES: By the end of the course students will be able to:

    • Understand academic and professional writing situations, audiences, and processes

    • Gather research material from a variety of sources, including the library and electronic sources

    • Analyze, summarize, paraphrase, quote, and document sources

    • Critically evaluate and synthesize material from multiple sources

    • Produce source-based writing with adequate support and logical development of arguments

  5. CONTENT OUTLINE: Course content will include:

    • Refining skills developed in ENG 101

    • Synthesizing the multiple perspectives available regarding chosen topics

    • Analyzing the rhetorical strategies used by authors—both in published texts and on the Internet

    • Evaluate the effectiveness of an argument and reflect that newfound knowledge in effective arguments written by the student

    • Gathering and organizing sources, and the justification for using sources to support a cohesive and well-developed argument.

  6. INSTRUCTIONAL ACTIVITIES: This course is reading/writing intensive. Students will:

    • Read extensively from textbook and other publications

    • Complete four writing assignments:

      • Analyze the effectiveness of an author’s argument (3 pages)

      • Write a Short Argument that will be basis for researched argument (3 pages)

      • Write an Annotated Bibliography of 12 sources

      • Write a Source-Based Argument formal paper (8-10 pages)

    • Complete one or more preliminary drafts for each formal paper

    • Conduct research which may use primary sources, secondary sources, and computer sources such as surveys, databases, books/journals, the Internet, etc.

    • Use MLA documentation style for documenting sources

    • Reflect on the learning experience of the semester

ENG 105: Critical Reading, Writing, and Inquiry

(Abbreviated Syllabus)

  1. TITLE: ENG 105: Critical Reading, Writing, and Inquiry

  2. COURSE DESCRIPTION: Instruction and practice in close reading, research, and critical thinking as applied to academic writing, with emphasis on analysis, synthesis, and argument. Satisfies the University Studies Composition requirement.

  3. PURPOSE: The course is designed to facilitate students’ development of critical reading, thinking, and writing abilities through close reading, analysis, and synthesis of texts. The course material and activities are intended to help students improve their reading, writing, and research skills, along with their critical thinking capabilities, contextual awareness, and the effectiveness of their persuasive and expository writing. The course curriculum emphasizes the process of academic writing: identifying audience and purpose, gathering ideas and support, organizing and integrating ideas, revising of material, and editing for clarity and accuracy. Through a variety of reading and writing activities, students of varying abilities can improve their individual processes and abilities in academic written communication.

  4. COURSE OBJECTIVES: As a result of this course, students will demonstrate:

    1. Knowledge of rhetorical elements, methods, and aims of expository and persuasive writing, along with an understanding of the intersections among audience, context, and author/creator;

    2. Competence in examining complex ideas and situations and in developing cohesive, well-researched arguments for relevant audiences;

    3. Capability to effectively integrate the work of multiple authors into their own analytic and persuasive writing with appropriate documentation and style;

    4. Various methods for research, including where and how to obtain the most effective, relevant, and credible sources; and

    5. Understanding of thoughtful revision with regard to their own work, and improvement of their command of style, clarity, organization, voice, as well as English language usage and mechanics.

  5. CONTENT OUTLINE: In this course, students will:

    1. Read assigned texts carefully, practicing critical inquiry;

    2. Respond to assigned texts in class discussions and in various informal and formal writing assignments;

    3. Develop and put into practice a process of planning, writing, and revising written work;

    4. Analyze the context, motives, claims, and strategies of authors, including classmates and themselves;

    5. Complete assignments that will help them understand and practice elements of academic writing and argument, including summary, analysis, and synthesis; and

    6. Make an effective written claim and argument that integrates analysis and synthesis of a variety of sources.


    1. Read selected readings from the textbook and other collections;

    2. Write both informal responses and formal papers, completing at least 25 pages of formal written work.

    3. Complete four to six formal writing assignments (totaling at least 25 pages), three of which must address the following elements:

      1. Analysis (Rhetorical, Contextual, or Literary)

      2. Synthesis

      3. Multiple-Sourced Argument

      Additional formal papers may include the following genres:

      1. Introductory Narrative

      2. Topic Proposal and Annotated Bibliography

      3. Short Argument

      4. Final Reflective Essay

    4. Participate in class discussions, small-group activities, and debates;

    5. Conduct research from primary and secondary sources, collected from a variety of locations, including the library and online;

    6. Complete one or more preliminary drafts for each formal paper and participate in peer review sessions; and

    7. Use MLA style for documenting sources.

Appendix 2: Holistic Scoring Guide

Scores 4-6 are upper half (mastery), and scores 1-3 are lower half (lack of mastery).


consistent (4)

effective (5)

exceptional (6)

inconsistent (1)

marginal (2)

incompetent (3)


Makes major aims clear, demonstrating the conventions of an appropriate genre

and adopts aims central to the topic, demonstrating control of generic conventions

and engages subtleties and nuances of the topic and the generic conventions

Does not always make clear its major aims nor observe conventions of the implied genre

and confuses the reader about its major aims, perhaps also violating some of the conventions

and persuades the reader that it has neither aims nor understanding of generic considerations


Reflects consistent awareness of desired impact on audience

and effectively appeals to audience expectations

and involves and engages the audience in the topic

Reflects inconsistent awareness of desired impact on audience

and may occasionally violate audience expectations

and apparently has no awareness of audience impact; alienates audience


Establishes a voice appropriate to audience and purpose

and effectively maintains control of voice

and may use that voice compellingly

Does not always establish an appropriate voice for audience and purpose

or uses an inappropriate or inconsistent voice

or creates an image of the writer that undermines and jeopardizes credibility or sympathy


Develops and represents an idea, experience, and/or text, using logic, reasoning, and/or examples

and analyzes its/their significance effectively

and offers notable insight

Does not develop and represent an idea, experience, and/or text, using logic, reasoning, and/or examples

and may partially misrepresent it

or appears to have misunderstood the idea, experience, or text


Selects and arranges material to establish a clear focus, providing essential transitions

and supports that focus effectively with purposeful arrangement and purposeful transitions

and may support that focus compellingly through clever but subtle control of arrangement and coherence

Fails to arrange material effectively

and may show a lack of focus

and may confuse readers


Controls sentence level features of written language, including grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage

and shows mature command of these features, particularly as regards clarity and precision

and exhibits mastery of these features in an engaging rhetorical style

Loses control of one or more elements of written language at the sentence level

or reveals only rudimentary knowledge of the conventions of standard written English

or fails to acknowledge these conventions

Appendix 3: New Assessment Questionnaire

Piloted Fall 2010

(coincidentally, the state of Kentucky had begun a process of university and community college articulation with student learning outcomes in 2010, and a few of those outcomes are listed here in addition to the ENG 105 objectives)


All ENG 105 sections list common objectives for the course on the syllabus. As a teacher of ENG 105, you are the best source of determining whether students meet those objectives during the semester, since you are involved in all class activities aiming toward those objectives. The composition committee has designed this survey as a way to determine whether the ENG 105 curriculum helps students accomplish its stated objectives and student learning outcomes. Based on your responses, the composition committee can identify specific areas where faculty workshops or revision of those objectives may be beneficial to the program as whole.

The following survey should be completed after you have finished evaluating a set of student papers. This survey will be for one formal paper during the semester OR the final paper. Your responses to these surveys are anonymous. Please do not include any identifying information.

Again, complete this form after you have finished grading a full set of student papers.


On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 representing freshman-level competence, answer the following questions about your class as a whole. Try to think in terms of trends: most students demonstrate . . . or most students don’t demonstrate . . .

For this assignment, the majority of students:

Demonstrate the ability to write clear and effective prose in response to the writing prompt.

1 2 3 4 5

Demonstrate their knowledge of and ability to use conventions appropriate to audience, purpose, and genre.

1 2 3 4 5

Demonstrate the ability to identify, analyze, and evaluate statements made by others, and integrate those views into their own work.

1 2 3 4 5

Demonstrate the ability to construct informed, sustained, and ethical arguments in response to diverse points of view.

1 2 3 4 5

Demonstrate effective planning, organization, and revision in developing this paper.

1 2 3 4 5

Demonstrate the knowledge of rhetorical elements, methods, and aims of expository or persuasive writing.

1 2 3 4 5

Competently examine complex ideas and situations in developing cohesive arguments.

1 2 3 4 5

Demonstrate the ability to cite sources correctly and thoughtfully within their work.

1 2 3 4 5

The following questions are not related to specific objectives or outcomes, but instead address how we as teachers read our student work. For this assignment, the majority of students:

Write in a way that I value as a reader.

1 2 3 4 5

Exhibit writing that is compelling: 1 2 3 4 5

Exhibit writing that offers insight: 1 2 3 4 5

Exhibit writing that is enthusiastic: 1 2 3 4 5

As a teacher, what do you value in student writing? (open-ended)

Upon Completion: Thank you for participating in this survey. The data compiled will help in the development of future composition workshops.

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