Starting in Fall 2016, the full FWIL community will explore how we – collectively – are doing in teaching Foundational Writing and Information Literacy. For the 2016 round of assessment, we will focus on Information Literacy, particularly the aspects of finding, reading, understanding, and synthesizing sources outside oneself. In subsequent years, a different FWIL goal will be emphasized – rhetorical discernment, critical reading, or substantive revision.

To begin our community-wide conversation on Information Literacy at the foundational level, we will gather student materials directly from you and from that gauge the extent to which student texts

draw on multiple appropriate sources, organizing and synthesizing information from those sources to serve a specific purpose.

There is a lot packed into that one sentence, and each element is important. Specifically, we are especially interested in learning the extent to which our first-year students are able to

  • find multiple sources
  • find appropriate sources
  • understand those sources
  • organize those sources
  • synthesize those sources
  • have a purpose for which those sources serve

What does this mean for you?

  • Choose or design an assignment for your Fall 2016 FWIL course that you believe will produce student writing demonstrating those features.
  • As you plan when in the semester to assign it, think about what scaffolding of other assignments you might want to do prior to it to deepen the practice of information literacy described here.
  • When students complete the assignment, send a copy of each student’s ungraded finished product to FWIL (hard copies to 302 Bailey/Howe, digital copies to Feel free to redact all student information if you like, otherwise it will be done for you.

What happens after that?

  • Student work will be logged, redacted of student as well as instructor identifying information, and processed in the FWIL office.
  • From that mass of student work, we will select a stratified random sample, meaning that we will pull from English 001, TAP, and HCOL in proportion to the number of students in each type of course. Realistically, we might pull only 1 or 2 papers from any individual class for rating.
  • You, and all participating FWIL instructors, will be invited to participate in a “rating day” in January, during which we will collectively rate and discuss what we find.
  • If you participate in the rating, you will be invited to collaboratively analyze and discuss the results and formulate recommendations for action.