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.
Fall or spring graduates submit their portfolios for assessment one month before their graduation date. Summer graduates 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 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 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:
- Reflective Essay
- Content Development
- Research and Documentation
- Organization Skills
- Voice and Style
- Effective Copy editing
- Professional Formatting
Portfolio documents are also holistically evaluated on their range of writing ability, an eighth category, although students do not associate specific documents with this category.
The portfolios are then rated by the B.A. Assessment Committee, a group of five Department of Rhetoric and Writing faculty members.
Senior Exit Interviews
After the senior portfolios have been rated, the B.A. 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 Professional and Technical Writing program.
After the exit interviews, assessment committee members 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 B.A. Assessment Committee chair, who compiles the findings into each year’s assessment report.
If you have questions about Senior Portfolios or Exit Interviews, please contact Dr. Earnest Cox, B.A. Assessment Committee chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org.