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Good undergraduate writing in art, biology, and psychology : Implications for assessment

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Item Summary

Title: Good undergraduate writing in art, biology, and psychology : Implications for assessment
Authors: Stitt-Bergh, Monica
Issue Date: 2008
Description: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008.
Based on findings from my study and research from the areas of testing, written communication, assessment in higher education, and cultural-historical theory, I proposed an assessment plan that involved faculty members creating a scoring rubric that aligned with their academic community's criteria for good writing. Faculty members would use that rubric to score seniors' texts collected from their academic community's writing-intensive classes. By engaging faculty in the assessment process and aligning teaching and testing, UH increases the possibility that its assessment will be meaningful, useful, and lead to the improvement of UH's writing program.
Higher education accreditation commissions now require that universities assess student learning when students are near graduation or have completed a program. The commissions specify that assessment results guide program and institutional improvement. In the area of writing assessment, methods exist to test student writing skills but they appear inadequate. Higher education institutions need methods to assess senior-level writing skills that the faculty finds meaningful and useful because then accreditation requirements can be met.
I also investigated sources of the participants' beliefs about writing. Those sources fell into two categories: academic and personal. Some participants drew from their entire range of experiences, from childhood to present-day, while others focused on experiences in their academic discipline.
The overarching goal of my qualitative study, conducted at the flagship campus of the University of Hawai'i (UH), was to inform a writing assessment plan. I used in-depth interviews with twelve faculty members to learn about their criteria for and expectations of good writing in three academic disciplines: Art, Biology, and Psychology. Analysis of the 12 participants' responses revealed six characteristics that contributed to good student writing: (a) establishing a focal issue, (b) fulfilling organizational expectations, (c) providing evidence and explanation, (d) creating coherence, (e) using unambiguous sentences, and (f) following grammar and mechanics rules. The participants in each academic discipline also identified characteristics that participants in other disciplines did not emphasize such as using poetic phrases, defining terms, contextualizing the problem or issue, and choosing reliable and valid sources. The genre of the student text also influenced the text characteristics mentioned by the participants.
show 3 moreIncludes bibliographical references (leaves 256-274).
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274 leaves, bound 29 cm

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ISBN: 9780549596301
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Educational Psychology

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