FYW Assessment

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FYW Assessment

Assessing and Grading Student Writing

Because assessing and grading are at the heart of any writing course and the learning that happens in it, the UWP promotes a self-conscious and reflexive approach to assessing and grading student writing. The program understands that while most teachers find little value in grades, the university requires grades, and those outside the university place some weight upon them as markers of academic success. Because of these reasons, the UWP promotes assessing and grading guidelines that teachers practice and experiment with in their classrooms. 

While individual teachers deem what he/she views as effective assessment practices on a course-by-course basis, the program promotes the following grading practices for FYW: 

  • Grading Contracts are suggested to FYW teachers who wish to avoid giving grades on every writing assignment, and wish to only give a course grade. The contracts promoted by the program are based on student labor to calculate final course grades. This keeps day-to-day grades off of all writing and assignments, and helps classrooms focus on formative feedback on writing, reduce the fear of failing or making mistakes in drafts, and encourages a culture of compassion and care for peers. It is also a way that culturally and socially conscious teachers can assess diverse student writing. The program conducts annual training for all faculty on the design and use of contracts. The contracts can be useful in W courses as well. 
  • Mandatory Minimum Percentages for particular elements of the course, based on their importance to the learning goals of the program. For FYW teachers who feel they must use grades, their final portfolios should be worth at least 30% of the total course grade, but no more than 50%. This is a general suggestion for all W courses as well. ​