Assessment Plan: Professional & Technical Writing

To determine the effectiveness of the department's degree, the Professional and Technical Writing Emphasis in the English BA/BS degree has developed an assessment plan built around measuring student work vis-à-vis three key learning objectives.

Professional and Technical Writing collects annual data from the calendar year (spring semester, fall semester) by gathering senior papers from its courses and designating faculty readers from its curriculum committee to assess the student work in relation to the key learning objectives. Each emphasis evaluates the papers and posts its Outcomes Data on the department's assessment website. Each emphasis then makes decisions on the basis of this data and delineates its Data-Based Decisions on the assessment website.

For the Technical Communication and Rhetoric Emphasis in the department’s BA/BS degrees, the three key Learning Objectives are:
1. Demonstrates technological literacy by demonstrating that they keep up with technology trends in the field and are able to learn new technologies quickly and effectively.
2. Demonstrates rhetorical literacy by showing evidence of understanding rhetorical situations and the factors that can cause messages to succeed or fail; perceiving rhetoric at work in their stories and examples; and communicating their own abilities effectively.
3. Demonstrates ethical literacy by discussing impacts of their work beyond the assignment or classroom, especially among underrepresented users and audiences; demonstrating a responsibility for how others experience and are affected by their work; being attuned to perpetuating or rejecting oppressive structures; articulating a code of ethics; showing empathy and self-reflexivity; and/or calling attention to matters of equity.

The faculty committee uses the following rubric to score student literacies:


Evidence that the student has developed this literacy is not provided, is unconvincing, or very incomplete.


Evidence that the student has developed this literacy is provided, but it is weak or incomplete.


Evidence shows that the student has developed an acceptable level of literacy.


Evidence shows that the student has developed a high level of literacy.