Course Standards

To ensure consistency, and on the premise that a writing course must be a course in writing, all sections of WRI 1000 and 1100 will adhere to the following standards:

Students write 16-20 polished pages of final-draft prose in 3-5 assignments

This does not include informal writing, in-class writing, reading responses, drafts, etc., but instead is finished, polished prose, such as a literature review, annotated bibliography, critique, review, research paper, rhetorical analysis, methods discussion, project proposal, proposition, proof, lab report, specifications, or hypothesis.  

Students write early in the term and regularly throughout the quarter: at least one writing assignment of some type due each week    

These weekly assignments do not need to be long, nor do they all need to receive feedback, nor do they all need to be polished prose for the page count.  Research shows the value of low-stakes, informal writing as vital to students learning critical thinking while improving their writing. 

No fewer than three assignments undergo substantial revision

Substantial revision means that at least half the writing is new material or thoroughly reworked.  This is an opportunity for the student to fundamentally rethink her writing. 

Students receive formative feedback on their writing at least three times

Formative feedback is commentary aimed at revision, commentary that addresses the question, “What is the next step for this writer?”  This is different from line editing a student’s writing, and it is different, too, from only marking places that are good or poorly written.   Formative feedback aims to help the student substantially revise the current assignment or (if the assignment is finished) think toward the next. 

At least half the classroom time is devoted to working with reading, writing, and researching

This can include learning to use databases, learning to write an annotated bibliography, learning to read academic texts, learning citation, doing peer review, workshopping student writing in-class, learning to evaluate sources, analyzing a piece of disciplinary writing for its structure and methods of argument, etc.  The purpose of this standard is to ensure the class centers on writing.  

No more than 75 pages a week of required/assigned reading

The spirit of this standard is to provide space for writing instruction by ensuring that content doesn’t overtake the course, while recognizing that 75 pages looks quite different in different fields.  When reading in a writing class, more is not always better.