The Georgetown Student Writing Study
In 2010 the Georgetown University Writing Program and the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) launched the Georgetown Student Writing Study to assess student writing across the university. Although the study was launched as part of a larger assessment project for our Middle States accreditation, the benefits of the project have extended beyond these original requirements. What started out as an assessment project has become a robust forum for pedagogical and curricular design and faculty development.
Participants in the study examine student writing to uncover what writers must do to master core or threshold concepts in their discipline and overcome obstacles to learning. They use this discussion to create a discipline-specific (or course-specific) rubric to assess a representative sample of student papers. The process not only generates useful data about student learning but also helps faculty make their tacit assumptions more explicit for student writers.