Purpose of this project
This portfolio method of writing assessment aims to triangulate the current quantitative method of writing assessment at Grinnell College by having a sample of students create four-year writing portfolios. The College, using these portfolios as a means of assessing how well our students learn to write, will fulfill several goals: community members will be able to have an evidence-based discussion about what it means to “write with style and grace,” to “make an argument,” and to “adapt each piece of writing to its context and audience.” Overall, this project will amass qualitative evidence about the extent to which we are teaching writing effectively and will contribute to faculty development by providing raw material for faculty discussions of the teaching of writing. Portfolios, as defined by the Northwest Evaluation Association, involve a
purposeful collection of student work that exhibits to the student (and/or others) the student’s efforts, progress, or achievement in (a) given area(s). This collection must include: student participation in selection of portfolio content; the criteria for selection; the criteria for judging merit; and evidence of student self-reflection (cited in Wolcott 36).
In this project, a small sample of students, guided by Writing Lab staff, will create four-year writing portfolios including copies of selected assignments, papers, and reflections on the processes and products of their writing. The resulting portfolios will be read by teams of faculty in faculty writing seminars.