Rationale, Requirement and Approval Criteria

Rationale

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.

Requirement

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 (WP)

Writing Practice (WP) Definition: Courses in this category may include two kinds of writing: 1) students practice their writing skills and demonstrate their mastery of course content in formal papers together comprising approximately 20 pages; or 2) the course uses a “writing-to-learn” approach: regular, loosely structured, exploratory, low-stakes writing assignments that help students clarify ideas, enhance critical thinking, and explore course content. Faculty members need not provide significant in-class writing instruction and may provide feedback on written work primarily concerned with course content (faculty need not provide feedback on the quality of students’ writing. Writing practice courses may be taught in any language.

To be approved as fulfilling WP, a course must include:

  1. Written assignments together comprising approximately 20 pages or regular, loosely structured, exploratory, low-stakes writing assignments,
  2. Development of writing assignments that are reasonably expected to produce improvement of student writing through practice.

Request for Writing Practice Designation (WP)

If you have questions, please contact Timothy Traffie, Registrar.

Section 1.



(e.g. 105 or 320)





Section 2.

Brief Course Description

Writing Practice (WP) Definition

Courses in this category may include two kinds of writing: 1) students practice their writing skills and demonstrate their mastery of course content in formal papers together comprising approximately 20 pages; or 2) the course uses a “writing-to-learn” approach: regular, loosely structured, exploratory, low-stakes writing assignments that help students clarify ideas, enhance critical thinking, and explore course content. Faculty members need not provide significant in-class writing instruction and may provide feedback on written work primarily concerned with course content (faculty need not provide feedback on the quality of students’ writing. Writing practice courses may be taught in any language.

Course Approval Criteria

1. Written assignments together comprising 20 pages. These assignments may be formal papers or essays, or regular, loosely structured, exploratory, low-stakes writing assignments, or a combination of the two.

Please include concise information about the type and frequency of the writing assignments. How many pages will the students write for each type of assignment?

2. Development of writing assignments that are reasonably expected to produce improvement of student writing through practice.

Describe how your assignments will improve student writing through practice.

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