English Department Assessment Goals:

The English Major

The English and Creative Writing Major


 

The English Major

 

Column 1: Expanded Statement of Institutional Purpose

Mission Statement:

"[Sweet Briar’s] curriculum is organized on the premise that a foundation in the liberal arts and sciences enhances the development of critical and creative abilities…. "

"A broadly-based academic program teaches [the student] …to appreciate the achievements of the past…and to communicate with precision and cogency."

Goal Statement: All graduates will have developed a depth of understanding and an appropriate level of competence in their major field.


 

Column 2: Intended Outcomes

1. Graduating majors will demonstrate competence in making oral presentations.

Column 3: Assessment Means and Results

Means of Assessment: The faculty member assessing each student’s senior exercise and one other department member will assess the oral presentation accompanying the exercise according to the criteria listed in the Appendix. We will use the following scale: 4 Excellent; 3 Good; 2 Satisfactory; 1 Unsatisfactory for each category.

Intended Student Outcomes: 70% of the students will score an average of 2.75 or better.

 


 

2. Graduating majors will be able to write clearly, cogently, and correctly, with a good command of organization, English grammar, mechanics, and style.

Column 3: Assessment Means and Results

Means of Assessment: The Department will use the senior exercise to evaluate goals 2 and 3. Subcommittees of two department members each (other than professors for whom the exercises were written) will evaluate blind copies of the exercises of majors in English and Creative Writing according to the following scale: 4 Excellent; 3 Good; 2 Satisfactory; 1 Unsatisfactory.

Intended Student Outcomes: 70% of the Students will score an average of 3 or better.

 


 

3. In their senior exercises majors will demonstrate the ability to read and to write critically. (See the Appendix for criteria by which we will evaluate the exercises.)

Column 3: Assessment Means and Results

Means of Assessment: Subcommittees of two department members each (other than professors for whom the exercises were written) will evaluate blind copies of the senior exercises of majors in English and English and Creative Writing according to the following scale: 4 Excellent; 3 Good; 2 Satisfactory; 1 Unsatisfactory

Intended Student Outcomes: 60% of students will score 3 or better.


 

The English and Creative Writing Major

Column 2 Intended Outcomes

***This major will include the previous three goals and assessment means plus the following***:

4. Graduating majors will develop the necessary critical and evaluative skills to respond concisely and effectively to their classmates’ work.

Column 3 Assessment Means and Results.

Means of Assessment: Senior majors will present, as part of their portfolio projects, at least five examples of detailed critiques which they have presented in response to their classmates’ work. Subcommittees of the portfolio advisor and one other department member will determine if these critiques indicate that the student has developed a competent level of critical and evaluative skills according to the following scale: 4 Excellent; 3 Good; 2 Satisfactory ; 1 Unsatisfactory. A score of 3 is necessary to establish competence. (For criteria of competence, please consult the Appendix.)

Intended Student Outcomes: 80% of the students will be judged competent.

 


 

4. Graduating majors will produce a body of original work in one or more genres that displays competence in creative writing.

Column 3 Assessment Means and Results:

Means of Assessment: Students’ portfolios will be assessed by their portfolio advisor and by an outside reader who possesses or is working toward a graduate degree in creative writing. Both readers will determine if the portfolio adequately demonstrates each student’s competence in creative writing according to the following scale: 4 Excellent; 3 Good ; 2 Satisfactory; 1 Unsatisfactory. A score of 3 will indicate competence. Should the two readers disagree regarding the student’s competence (i.e. should one average score be below 3), a third qualified reader will determine competency.

Intended Outcomes: 80% of students will display competence in creative writing.

 

[top of page]



Appendix.

Criteria for Oral Presentation Evaluation:

  1. Overall content. The presentation shows evidence of significant intellectual content and investigation.
  2. Clarity of argument or project, including the thesis or research question, main points, and conclusions).
  3. Organization and coherence. The presentation should proceed logically and should provide clear transitions from point to point.
  4. Delivery. The presenter should adhere to time limits and show evidence that she has practiced, has mastered her material (speaking from notes rather than reading). She will speak clearly, with assurance (and not too fast.)
  5. Ability to respond seriously and effectively to questions and suggestions.

Criteria for Critical Research Project:

  1. Ability to ask useful questions of a text
  2. Ability to create a thesis which successfully responds to these questions
  3. Ability to conduct significant research in traditional and electronic sources relevant to the investigation
  4. Ability to integrate the results of such research into the student’s original argument
  5. Ability properly to document sources and citations.

Criteria for Creative Writing Critique Assessment:

  1. Fiction
  1. Line editing. (Does the reader detect and point out persistent or particularly notable problems with word-choice, syntax, diction, punctuation, or spelling?)
  2. Marginal comments. (Does the reader point out particularly good or weak dialogue, description, or action? Does the reader ask questions about the characters or action in the story?)
  3. Terminal comment. (Does the reader summarize her response to the story? Does the reader point out the ways in which the story is convincing and unconvincing? Does the reader suggest how the story might be altered or more fully developed to make it more convincing?)
  1.  

  1. Poetry
  1. Music/rhythm (Does the reader address the poem’s particular rhythm or music?)
  2. Form/line length (Does the reader address the poem’s shape–line length, rhyme, form–and whether or not it contributes to the poem’s effectiveness?
  3. Effective diction (Does the reader address whether the poem’s word choice is deliberate, specific, and effective? Does the reader point out the overuse of abstractions? Does the reader point out images and lines that are both surprising and effective?)
  4. Punctuation (Does the reader address whether or not the poem’s punctuation is clear and effective?)
  5. Title (Does the reader address the poem’s title and whether or not it serves to amplify or enhance the poem’s subject?)
  6. Terminal comment (Does the reader summarize the explain her response to the poem?)

Criteria for Portfolio Project:

  1. Fiction
  1. Convincing point of view. (Is the point of view clearly established? Is the point of view consistent?
  2. Characterization. (Are the characters clearly delineated? Do we learn enough about the characters’ histories, preoccupations, virtues, and flaws? Does the writer establish empathy or antipathy toward the characters?)
  3. Convincing setting. (Does the author clearly establish where and when the stories take place? Is the setting presented evocatively? Does the setting serve to develop characterization?
  4. Convincing dialogue. (Is the dialogue consistent with characterization--age, social and economic status–and setting–time period, location? Does the dialogue help illuminate the story’s theme?)
  5. Convincing action. (Does the story clearly establish a conflict? Does the story seem appropriately paced? Does the action build toward a climax?)
  6. Theme. (Is the story’s purpose subtle but clear?)
  7. Language. (Is the writing evocative o5 compelling? Is the writing capable, i.e., mechanically and syntactically correct?)
  1. Poetry
  1. Voice (Is the speaker in the poem clearly established?)
  2. Form (Does the poem’s shape–line-length, rhyme, etc.--contribute to the poem’s effectiveness?)
  3. Imagery (Do the poem’s images effectively and allusively convey its subject?
  4. Subject (Is the occasion of the poem clear? Does the poem adequately address its subject?
  5. Mood (Do the poem’s voice, images, and subject matter clearly establish a mood?)
  6. Theme (Is the poem’s purpose subtle but clear?)
  7. Language (Is the writing evocative or compelling? Is the writing capable–i.e. mechanically and syntactically correct?)

 

[top of page]