Improving Writing Efficacy with Mandated Student Guides

Submitted by Peter Turner on

The Social, Civic, and Global Responsibility assignment was given to my EDU222 hybrid course, with disappointing results. The average score was a 10.6 out of 15 (71%). Knowing that I would be giving the same assignment to my EDU230 hybrid course, I consulted with others who had better results. This led to the creation of the following guides that students were mandated to use and attach to their final paper:

  • A "Librarian Consultation Record" whereby students had to see a school librarian and have them sign off.
  • A "Writing Guide" which was a matrix that guided students through the key points of their assignment.
  • Use of the Online Writing Center. Students had to submit their papers to the OWC (or to the in-person Writing Center). If students earlier demonstrated their writing prowess, they received a waiver for this requirement.

EDU230 student scores improved greatly after implementing the mandated guides. The average score was a 13.1 out of 15, or 87%.

Thanks to Rachel Holmes, Roselyn Turner, and Nikol Price for their help!

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
Average: 5 (3 votes)


Marianne Smith Mon, 11/12/2012 - 11:02am

I wish I had seen your CATS posting before I assigned my Ethics in Computing paper for CIS105, Pete.  The Writing Guide would have been an ideal method for walking my students through the assignment.  Although I provided them with the SCGR Assessment Rubric tailored to the assignment, few of them knew how to incorporate that information into their papers. A step by step writing guide would probably have been much more effective.  I also think having students submit their work to the OWC should be a requirement for any substantial writing assignment. It's surprising how many students don't take advantage of this service unless it's mandated by the instructor.

Roselyn Turner Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:14pm

Pete, your dissapointment with the initial batch of SCGR scores and your subsequent placement of structures to guide the students prompted me to do more with my students to prepare them for the assessment.  Thank you for sharing with me.  My students are in the process of preparing their Informative Speeches, and the consultations I have had with them regarding "ISSUES" related to their topics have been instructive and engaging.  I am looking forward to assessing their presentations, including the 5 SCGR areas.

Erik Huntsinger Tue, 11/20/2012 - 1:10pm

Great example of using student data to make changes to the assignment structure to improve results.  I agree with Marianne that requiring the students to go to the writing center is good for their writing skills and results in less time needed to grade their papers as well.  That is interesting about the exemptions for good writers- I make all my students go, figuring that we can all benefit from critque of our writing ability periodically.