Peer Writing Program Assessment

Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back.

This summer, with the help of our Sweetland interns, Ashley Bishel and Clinton Rooker, we undertook an assessment of the Peer Writing Consultant Program to understand what it is accomplishing for writers and consultants—and to consider how we might want to improve our work.

We began by looking at the data we collect on a routine basis, such as our client registration data, appointment data, session evaluations, end-of-year surveys, and peer consultant exit interview data. We acquired some additional data about our clients and our consultants from the registrar—and we discovered some interesting things. For example:

  • 3% of enrolled undergraduate students used the Peer Writing Center in 2016-2017
  • about 64% of our clients are female; about 36% of them are male
  • about 15% of our clients are first-generation college students
  • about 24% of our clients are international students
  • First-year writers make up 42% of our clients
  • writing center clients have slightly higher than average ACT scores, first year writing course grades, and GPAs

Our clients are satisfied with the Peer Writing Center services. About forty percent of responses to our session exit survey indicated that writers found writing or revision strategies they learned were helpful; clients also appreciated consultants’ emphasis on addressing “higher order concerns”—such as structure, organization, development of ideas, use of evidence, etc.

In the end-of-year surveys, our clients indicated that they grew as writers in their ability to revise drafts and to edit their own writing—and in their ability to give and receive feedback about their work. Just as importantly, our clients felt “welcomed and accepted” in the Peer Writing Center.

Our consultants represent a variety of majors beyond English, including anthropology, biochemistry, economics, French, information, and music performance. And they include students who identify as white, Asian, black, and Hispanic. The consultants’ reflections on time in the program indicate that they develop increased awareness of themselves and their writing process, as well as skills that will serve them in professional contexts, including communication skills, interpersonal skills, and appreciation of diversity.

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