Rationale, Requirement and Approval Criteria
Macalester seeks to ensure that all students receive instruction in writing that gives attention to writing as a process (writing is rewriting), and that provides students individually with feedback on the mechanics and substance of their writing.
All students will successfully complete at least three Writing courses:
A. Courses will be classified as teaching argumentative writing (WA), providing instruction in writing as craft (WC) or as offering significant practice in writing (WP) as defined below under course approval criteria.
B. Of the three courses, at least one must be WA and no more than one may be WP.
C. Every student must take either a WA or WC course during the first semester of college, a requirement which may be met by a designated WA or WC First Year Course.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students completing the three-course Writing requirement will be able to:
- Plan, draft, and revise a piece of prose;
- Demonstrate competence in the writing conventions appropriate to a genre, rhetorical context, and anticipated audience;
- Demonstrate appropriate use of standard written language, including clarity and correctness;
- Express ideas clearly using sentence and paragraph-level structures appropriate for genre and rhetorical context;
- Communicate others’ perspectives effectively;
- Integrate a student’s own ideas with those of others, where appropriate;
- Use evidence to support arguments, interpretations, or findings;
- Cite sources of evidence properly for the intended audience;
- Demonstrate intellectual reach.
Course Approval Criteria (WA)
Argumentative Writing (WA) Definition: Courses in this category provide explicit instruction in writing and revising evidence-based argumentative prose. Course enrollment should be capped at 20 students, though each instructor retains the discretion to exceed the enrollment cap. Argumentative writing courses may be taught in any language.
To be approved as fulfilling WA, a course must include:
- Assignments together comprising approximately 20 pages (double-spaced, not including revisions).
- At least one writing assignment that undergoes revision based on faculty feedback. At a minimum this feedback should include comments that address content (e.g. questions of organization, development of arguments, use of evidence, consideration of audience, paragraph structure), clarity and style, as well as mechanics, such as grammar and usage.
- Evaluation of writing assignments that specifically addresses the quality of their writing.
- Provision of instructional time that focuses specifically on argumentative writing, and that is provided within a syllabus or curricular plan for the course that makes explicit the course’s intention to produce improvement in argumentative writing.
Request for Argumentative Writing Designation (WA)
If you have questions, please contact Timothy Traffie, Registrar.