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Undergraduate Assessment

English BA Student Learning Outcomes

PDF versions:  list of all outcomes, details of literature outcomes, details of creative writing outcomes, details of professional writing outcomes

Rubrics:  literature, creative writing, professional writing

List of all outcomes

Students completing the English BA program will demonstrate the following:

A:  In papers for literature courses:

  1. Analysis and interpretation of evidence 
  2. Application of theory
  3. Application of established methodologies of literary criticism
  4. Engagement with social and literary history
  5. Engagement with genre and form
  6. Effective writing
  7. Establishment of sound, applicable arguments
  8. Relevant use of sources
  9. Independent, relevant research
  10. Documentation of sources 
  11. Insight 
  12. Creativity and originality 

B:  In projects for creative writing courses:

  1. Effective writing (SLO 6)
  2. Voice and style (creative writing only) (SLO 13)
  3. Engagement with genre and form (SLO 5)
  4. Creativity and originality (SLO 12)
  5. Insight (SLO 11)
  6. Complete development of a lyric meditation or narrative (creative writing only) (SLO 14)
  7. Reflection on craft decisions or the relation to a genre or tradition (creative writing only) (SLO 15)

C:  In projects for professional writing courses:

  1. Context-based problem solving (professional writing only) (SLO 16)
  2. Writing suited to a technologically mediated context (professional writing only) (SLO 17)
  3. Use of rhetoric to orient writing toward specific audiences (professional writing only) (SLO 18)
  4. Effective writing (SLO 6)
  5. Establishment of sound, applicable arguments (SLO 7)
  6. Analysis and interpretation of evidence (SLO 1)
  7. Relevant use of sources (SLO 8)
  8. Independent, relevant research (SLO 9)
  9. Documentation of sources (SLO 10)
  10. Insight (SLO 11)
  11. Creativity and originality (SLO 12)
  12. Effective design elements (professional writing only) (SLO 19)

Detailed descriptions of literature outcomes (PDF)

1:  Analysis and interpretation of evidence 

Students in the English BA program will perform analysis and interpretation of evidence.

In literature papers, students will use textual evidence from close reading to defend an interpretive thesis, including locating the significance of chosen passages in the context of a larger work.

2:  Application of theory

Students in the English BA program will use theory to inform their analysis and argumentation. 

This theory may be literary, philosophical, cultural, psychological, political, economic, rhetorical, etc. in nature, and students will reference it explicitly in their writing, as, for example, an explicitly formulated Marxist analysis of the representation of class in a novel. This outcome does not pertain to general approaches that may have an unstated theoretical basis. For example, a focus on the passivity of female characters in a novel would not count for this outcome, unless feminist theory is an explicit topic of the paper as well.

3:  Application of established methodologies of literary criticism

Students in the English BA program will use established methodologies of literary criticism. 

This outcome pertains to the use of the discourse of literary criticism at a complex level, in regard to either: (a) specific approaches to interpretation that have established currency in the discipline, such as feminism and new historicism, but which do not involve the explicit theorization of learning outcome #2; and (b) terminology and techniques of formal analysis wielded in a more systematic and knowledgeable manner than the more general close reading that is covered by learning outcome #1.

4:  Engagement with social and literary history

Students in the English BA program will engage with social and literary history. 

While ideally we want students to have a sense of how social and literary history are reciprocal, this outcome may appear as engagement with either social history or literary history.

5:  Engagement with genre and form

Students in the English BA program will engage with genre and form. 

For literature papers, this outcome requires explicit uses of the terminology or concepts of genre or form, or creative imitations of a specific genre or form. 

6:  Effective writing

Students in the English BA program will demonstrate effective writing.

In literature courses, students will demonstrate the general skills of college-level exposition developed to some degree of sophistication, as evident in the clarity, precision, fluidity, and aptness of sentence-level grammar, mechanics, and word choice; as well as in higher-level structural flexibility of sentences and paragraphs. 

7:  Establishment of sound, applicable arguments

Students in the English BA program will establish sound, applicable arguments. 

In literature courses, students will clearly articulate a substantive thesis, for which they will provide a logically reasoned and organized defense.

8:  Relevant use of sources

Students in the English BA program will use sources beyond the one of primary focus to establish relevant support for their argumentation. 

These sources may be assigned by an instructor specifically for an assignment, ones assigned earlier in the course, or ones the student knows from another course, in addition to those discovered through research.

9:  Independent, relevant research

Students in the English BA program will conduct independent research to establish relevant support for their argumentation.

This outcome requires student-directed research, usually for assignments which explicitly require such research. 

10:  Documentation of sources 

Students in the English BA program will document resources accurately, consistently, and fully. 

This outcome extends to the documentation of all sources in any paper that requires documentation (that is, in more than just research papers). 

11:  Insight 

Students in the English BA program will explore and render insight in argument, reasoning, and methodology.

12:  Creativity and originality 

Students in the English BA program will display creativity and originality in argument, reasoning, or methodology. 

Detailed descriptions of creative writing outcomes (PDF)

1:  Effective writing (SLO 6)

Students in the English BA program will demonstrate effective writing.

Students will demonstrate the general skills of college-level exposition developed to some degree of sophistication, as evident in the clarity, precision, fluidity, and aptness of sentence-level grammar, mechanics, and word choice; as well as in higher-level structural flexibility of sentences and paragraphs. 

For those students who take creative writing courses, this outcome also involves the effective rendering of poetic lines, poetic stanzas, and dialogue.

2:  Voice and style (creative writing only) (SLO 13)

Students in the English BA program who take creative writing courses will infuse their writing with voice and style.

The development of voice and style suggests that there is a person or persona behind the creative work (as opposed to in academic writing where voice is often necessarily muted in service of the argument). Voice and style can manifest through such elements as syntax, vocabulary, diction, musicality of language, inflection, and punctuation.

3:  Engagement with genre and form (SLO 5)

Students in the English BA program will engage with genre and form. 

For those students who take creative writing courses, this outcome may appear as implicit engagement, in the creative work itself, with generic and formal conventions, as for example the general generic categories of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting; the finer distinctions among, say, prose poem, flash fiction, short story, novella, and novel; specific poetic verse forms such as the sonnet, villanelle, sestina, ghazal, or free verse; modes of fiction such as magical realism or psychological realism; or structural conventions such as linear narrative or experimental narratives that employ a variety of discourses. 

4:  Creativity and originality (SLO 12)

Students in the English BA program will display creativity and originality in argument, reasoning, or methodology. 

For those students who take creative writing courses, this outcome pertains to creativity in a range of items including fresh concepts, unique ideas, novel approaches, unusual perspectives, surprising images, playful language usage, and innovative forms.

5:  Insight (SLO 11)

Students in the English BA program will explore and render insight in argument, reasoning, and methodology.

For those students who take creative writing courses, this outcome requires profound and complex themes, independent of creativity and originality.

6:  Complete development of a lyric meditation or narrative (creative writing only) (SLO 14)

Students in the English BA program who take creative writing courses will develop completely a substantive lyric meditation or narrative.

This outcome pertains to the completeness of the work, in the sense that the concept has been sufficiently explored so that there is a corresponding beginning, middle, and end that establishes, develops, and concludes the work organically.

7:  Reflection on craft decisions or the relation to a genre or tradition (creative writing only) (SLO 15)

Students in the English BA program who take creative writing courses will reflect on their craft decisions or their relation to a genre or tradition.

This outcome pertains to the explicitly reflective, critical, or craft analytical component of a creative writing assignment.

Detailed descriptions of professional writing outcomes (PDF)

1:  Context-based problem solving (professional writing only) (SLO 16)

Students in the English BA program who take professional writing courses will perform context-based problem solving.

This outcome pertains to professional writing projects that contain a context-specific problem-solving component, but which may not be unified by an overall argument.  For example, a series of evidence-based recommendations may serve as the argument.

2:  Writing suited to a technologically mediated context (professional writing only) (SLO 17)

Students in the English BA program who take professional writing courses will produce writing suited to a technologically mediated context.

This outcome pertains to electronic media-specific composition skills, for example, composition for web pages, including effective paragraph length, linking, scannable prose, and use of keywords.

3:  Use of rhetoric to orient writing toward specific audiences (professional writing only) (SLO 18)

Students in the English BA program who take professional writing courses will use rhetoric to orient writing toward specific audiences.

This outcome pertains to professional writing projects with a practical emphasis, and is a measure of the projects’ rhetorical recognition of their specific audiences, including word choice, tone, selection of evidence, organization, and style (e.g., creative or traditional).

4:  Effective writing (SLO 6)

Students in the English BA program will demonstrate effective writing.

Students will demonstrate the general skills of college-level exposition developed to some degree of sophistication, as evident in the clarity, precision, fluidity, and aptness of sentence-level grammar, mechanics, and word choice; as well as in higher-level structural flexibility of sentences and paragraphs. 

For those students who take professional writing courses, this outcome also involves active, concise, engaging prose in clearly delineated chunks.

5:  Establishment of sound, applicable arguments (SLO 7)

Students in the English BA program will establish sound, applicable arguments. 

For those students who take professional writing courses, the argument may take various practical forms, such as recommendations for a client, a personal statement of qualifications, or carefully selected primary evidence for a portfolio.  For such practical arguments, this outcome includes the feasibility of the argument.

6:  Analysis and interpretation of evidence (SLO 1)

Students in the English BA program will perform analysis and interpretation of evidence.

For those students who take professional writing courses, this evidence may include primary materials such as websites, job ads, writing samples, etc. and the argument may be practical rather than interpretive.

7:  Relevant use of sources (SLO 8)

Students in the English BA program will use sources beyond the one of primary focus to establish relevant support for their argumentation. 

These sources may be assigned by an instructor specifically for an assignment, ones assigned earlier in the course, or ones the student knows from another course, in addition to those discovered through research.

8:  Independent, relevant research (SLO 9)

Students in the English BA program will conduct independent research to establish relevant support for their argumentation.

This outcome requires student-directed research, usually for assignments which explicitly require such research. 

For those students who take professional writing courses, this outcome may appear in other forms than traditional library research, such as client interviews, investigations of companies or clients, or comparison of websites.

9:  Documentation of sources (SLO 10)

Students in the English BA program will document resources accurately, consistently, and fully. 

This outcome extends to the documentation of all sources in any paper that requires documentation (that is, in more than just research papers). 

For those students who take professional writing courses, this document extends to image credits and linking to websites; it does not necessarily involve a formal references page.

10:  Insight (SLO 11)

Students in the English BA program will explore and render insight in argument, reasoning, and methodology.

11:  Creativity and originality (SLO 12)

Students in the English BA program will display creativity and originality in argument, reasoning, or methodology. 

12:  Effective design elements (professional writing only) (SLO 19)

Students in the English BA program who take professional writing courses will produce materials with effective design elements.

This outcome pertains to professional writing and electronic media-specific design skills, for example, alignment; proximity; repetition; contrast and color; clarity and choice of visuals, font, and other multimedia; branding; and ease of navigation.