Academic journal article College Student Journal

Comparison of Effects of Cognitive Level and Quality Writing Assessment (CLAQWA) Rubric on Freshman College Student Writing

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Comparison of Effects of Cognitive Level and Quality Writing Assessment (CLAQWA) Rubric on Freshman College Student Writing

Article excerpt

The study investigated the effects of the Cognitive Level and Quality Writing Assessment (CLAQWA) rubric on the cognitive and writing skill growth in freshmen composition classes. The participants were enrolled at a Midwestern state university. The nonequivalent control group design used quantitative analysis with selected criteria from the CLAQWA rubric as measurements. Two independent raters graded the essays, and results confirmed a statistically significant correlation of grades on both sets of essays. Results from both raters confirmed no statistically significant differences on either type of skill score between the experimental or control group for the final essay. These results suggest that although a specific rubric enhances the learning environment, a specific rubric does not define the learning environment. Results indicated that the measurement of student outcomes, mandated by recent legislative efforts, may be accomplished through the use of a rubric, but at the same time, a specific rubric may not be a universal answer.

Keywords: cognitive, cognitive level quality writing assessment, writing skills, freshmen composition

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The study investigated the effects of the Cognitive Level and Quality Writing Assessment (CLAQWA) rubric (CLAQWA online, 2007) on the cognitive and writing skill growth in freshmen composition classes. The participants were enrolled at a Midwestern state university. The nonequivalent control group design used quantitative analysis with selected criteria from the CLAQWA rubric as measurements. Two independent raters graded the essays, and results confirmed a statistically significant correlation of grades on both sets of essays. Results from both raters confirmed no statistically significant differences on either type of skill score between the experimental or control group for the final essay. These results suggest that although a specific rubric enhances the learning environment, a specific rubric does not define the learning environment. Results indicated that the measurement of student outcomes, mandated by recent legislative efforts, may be accomplished through the use of a rubric, but at the same time, a specific rubric may not be a universal answer.

Accrediting bodies and campuses have mandated assessments of student learning (Action Plan, 2006; Boards, 2006; Executive, 2007; Four Pillars, 2004; U.S. Department, 2007). As a result, colleges are concerned about measuring academic quality and outcomes of students. A general assumption has existed that there is a close link between writing skills and cognitive skills, so colleges have seen a need to accurately measure both skills at the same time in undergraduate student work. Because colleges have frequently required two semesters of writing as core requirements, freshmen writing courses have constituted a logical place to evaluate such change in student writing.

To begin, ideas previously investigated should be highlighted. Specific, measurable data has been analyzed (Hillocks, 1986). The Hillocks text has marked an important beginning to the enormous task of developing a bibliography and synthesizing information learned from composition studies. It has also set in motion the establishment of experimental and quasi-experimental designs in the area of academic English, a practice rarely seen in previous decades. More generalized practices have been collated (Roen et al., 2002). This book has represented encouragement, interpretation, and new directions for many pedagogical endeavors within the freshman college composition classroom.

Additionally, thought processes of college students and practical suggestions for undergraduates have been studied (Chickering & Gamson, 1987; Perry, 1999). Perry has used psychological theories to explain the behavior, motivation, and thinking of college students before he has indicated that professors should apply these aspects of intellectual development to individual teaching situations. …

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