Building Writing Center Assessments That Matter

Building Writing Center Assessments That Matter

Building Writing Center Assessments That Matter

Building Writing Center Assessments That Matter

Excerpt

When we started this project, we had one idea in mind: to help our friends and colleagues make sense of and use assessment in their writing centers. We have been acting on this idea by providing a range of conference sessions and workshops over the past four years. This book project continues that work and benefits from what we have learned from so many of our colleagues through our conference meetings.

Through these shared experiences, we felt as though we had found a clear idea of what writing center directors (WCDs) were looking for, what they wanted to learn and know, and what we could offer to support them in their assessment efforts. Once we had that clarity of purpose and audience, we started talking with folks about our book project ideas. We received only support and encouragement from our friends in writing centers, writing assessment, and writing program administration. Based on our workshop experiences and the support from multiple “camps” within our field, we started writing. We finished the first couple of chapters … and realized we had a problem.

Throughout the writing process, we were surprised by how frequently we could come to contrasting views. And it didn’t happen all at once or even early in the project. These differences arose even as we completed the second half of the book and sought feedback from others. Our readers sensed some fundamental differences in our approaches to assessment and the kind of conversation we wanted to have with other WCDs. We understood the differences as primarily a function of Ellen’s background in writing assessment and Bill’s longer experience as a writing center director.

We knew we agreed on one essential idea, however: both perspectives were necessary because they informed not only the project at hand but . . .

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