ERIC Number: ED398585
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
The Writing Portfolio and English Program Assessment: Of Bumps, Bruises, and Lessons Learned.
McDonald, Robert L.
In January 1986, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) issued several recommendations with far-reaching implications for Virginia's colleges and universities, namely, "that all state-supported institutions of higher education establish procedures and programs to measure student achievement." By all accounts the English department of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) assumed an early and preemptive role in the assessment initiative. The assessment committee had devised a 3-part assessment mechanism: (1) an alumni survey every 5 years; (2) annual exit interviews; and (3) a senior capstone portfolio project. Resistance to the portfolio was minimal at first but soon objections arose. Some felt the scoring process, even for just 20 majors, would be unwieldy. Many worried that it would infringe on academic freedom by requiring a certain kind of writing assignment in department courses. Others were concerned about using a writing assessment instrument for work in a department concerned mainly with literature. In the end, portfolio assessment was voted on and passed. A committee has continued to work on remaining concerns. It has refined the process of submission, the requirements for submission, the process of evaluation, and the procedures following failure. It has also worked on a holistic method of scoring. As changes continue to be made, resistance to portfolio assessment seems to be dissipating. The portfolio assessment grading criteria is appended. (Contains 12 references. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Historical Materials; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia