We assess all of our curriculum objectives using the senior portfolio. The portfolio is part of the coursework for RHET 4190 Colloquium in Rhetoric and Writing, which is offered each semester and is a required course in the degree program.
Students graduating in the fall or spring submit their portfolios for assessment one month prior to their graduation date; students graduating in the summer submit their portfolios at the same time as the spring graduates.
Students are required to submit at least seven pieces of writing they have completed during their time in the major. Six of the pieces usually come from our required courses, although we allow substitutions when necessary; the seventh piece is a reflective essay that critically discusses the student’s perspective on his or her own learning. Students may choose to submit additional pieces from elective courses if they feel these pieces will help to demonstrate their progress on our learning objectives.
In developing the portfolio, each student is required to associate one or more documents with each of the rubric categories that we use for evaluation. This requirement ensures that students are submitting materials that meet our assessment goals. The rubric categories are listed below:
- Reflective Essay
- Content Development
- Research and Documentation
- Organization Skills
- Voice and Style
- Effective Copyediting
- Professional Formatting
The portfolio documents are also holistically evaluated on an eighth category listed below, although students do not associate specific documents with this category:
- Range of Writing Ability
The portfolios are then rated by the BA Assessment Committee, a group of five Department of Rhetoric and Writing faculty members.
Senior Exit Interviews
After the senior portfolios have been rated, the BA Assessment Committee meets with the graduating students for exit interviews (conducted with groups of 3-4 students at a time). We begin the interview by inviting students to discuss their work; committee members then follow up with questions. Throughout the meeting, which lasts 60-75 minutes, the students and committee members focus on the published criteria for a successful portfolio (listed above).
The exit interviews are also an opportunity for students to receive oral feedback on the pieces chosen for the portfolio, including the reflective essay. Students and committee members also discuss the students’ career plans and ways of improving the PTW program.
After the exit interviews, members of the assessment committee write reports analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the portfolios and synthesizing their impressions from the interviews. They submit these reports along with their individual portfolio rating sheets to the BA Assessment Committee chair, who compiles the findings into each year’s assessment report.
If you have additional questions about Senior Portfolios or Exit Interviews, please contact the BA Assessment Committee Chair Dr. Earnest Cox (firstname.lastname@example.org).