The WAC program has begun to assess GWAR courses, and this page will be updated as we analyze results. Some tools and results from other programs are also referenced here.
I. A Student Perceptions in GWAR Courses at SF State
WHAT do SF State Students enrolled in GWAR courses believe they learn, and HOW do they think they learn best?
What Students Thought They Learned
(1) Students reported that the writing assignments they encountered in GWAR courses were new to them.
(2) Students also reported learning new ways of thinking in GWAR classes that are specific to thei rmajors; many said they learned to approach issues from multiple perspectives.
How They Thought They Learned
Many students believed their professors helped them to sustain true passion for learning. They reported they succeeded in GWAR courses when their professors were accessible; and when they
• Articulated the purpose for writing in their disciplines;
• Gave copious and timely feedback on rough drafts;
• Fostered connections between peers (e.g., through class discussion, tutoring);
• Sequenced assignments in a logical manner.
2. Assessment of Student Writing
Some departments have assessed writing in their majors. Here are links to their reports:
3. Instructional Rounds
The San Francisco Education Fund and Burton High School developed a protocol to assess individual classrooms. In spring 2013, the team visited 6 GWAR classes in 5 disciplines. They discovered that SF State faculty asked higher order questions; used peer review; integrated discussion of writing into their class time; and affirmed students' responses. Read their Report, SFSU-Instructional Rounds
II. Other Studies
WAC Can Work overviews the types of assessments being done at some campuses.
One of the most robust studies, The University of Washington's Study of Undergraduate Learning (UW SOUL) shows that
- Writing (and, critical thinking) is always disciplinary, even in general education;
- Students who write a lot are more engaged with their education; and
- Students who practice writing in specific situations get better at writing.
Other large-scale institutional studies have shown similar results: writing engages students in learning and in the life of the institution.