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CASLL-L  January 2005

CASLL-L January 2005

Subject:

Re: Evaluation of services offered by writing centres

From:

Theresa Hyland <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

CASLL/Inkshed <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 26 Jan 2005 14:22:41 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (191 lines)

Virginia Ryan wrote:

> emisser wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>>
>>
>>
>> I have been asked to look into ways of evaluating the one-on-one
>> appointments we offer for students at Laurier's Writing Centre. This
>> request
>> has come from the university president who appears to want student
>> evaluations of writing centre appointments in place before committing
>> to a
>> planned increase in funding for the Writing Centre. Improved funding
>> is good
>> news, of course, but before I proceed, I would very much welcome
>> input and
>> advice from people on the listserv.
>>
>>
>>
>> If you have a moment, I would love to have your response to some of the
>> questions below, or comments of any kind that you think useful:
>>
>>
>>
>> If you do evaluations at your writing centre, please tell me about
>> experience?
>>
>> If you don't do evaluations, what is your reason?
>>
>> Which questions to you ask and which ones do you avoid asking?
>>
>> How do you gather the evaluations?
>>
>> How do you analyze the results?
>>
>> To whom do you report the results and how are they used?
>>
>> What are the pitfalls?
>>
>>
>>
>> If you have any questionnaires you are willing to share, I would be very
>> grateful.
>>
>>
>>
>> Thanks in advance for doing this.
>>
>>
>>
>> Emmy
>>
>>
>>
>> Emmy Misser, MA
>>
>> Writing Centre Co-ordinator
>>
>> Wilfrid Laurier University
>>
>> Phone: (519) 884-0710, Ext. 3339
>>
>> Fax: (519) 746-2472
>>
>> Web Site: http://www.wlu.ca/writing
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>                -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
>>  To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
>>  [log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
>>         write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
>>
>> For the list archives and information about the organization,
>>    its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to
>>              http://www.stu.ca/inkshed/
>>                 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
>>
>>
>>
> Hello, Emmy.
>
> All we have in place at our Writing Centre are the rather informal,
> anonymous forms that students complete immediately after their sessions.
> The forms only ask three questions - two pertaining to the tutor and to
> the particulars of the session, and one pertaining to the student's
> overall satisfaction (or lack thereof) with the Writing Centre. I read
> them carefully, report the positives and negatives to the tutors at
> staff meetings, keep careful records of issues that crop up repeatedly,
> respond to the student body periodically by posting their comments with
> answers on our bulletin board, and hand the forms over to the tutors
> about whom they're written.  And I find this kind of feedback very
> helpful - for our own, internal purposes.
>
> However, this is not the kind of evaluation you are seeking, I suspect.
> There's been lots of discussion on the wcenter listserv over the years
> about the pitfalls of using such immediate response as evaluative
> material:  tutees' immediate responses tend to be exceedingly positive,
> because they are so greatful for the immediate help they've been given.
> And if you have access to the WCENTER archives, you'll find a number of
> examples of once-per-term, electronically administered questionnaires,
> along with discussions of their merits and drawbacks.
>
> I hope others on this list can be more helpful than I have been; I, too,
> would love to find an easy-to-administer student evaluation system  that
> is cumulative in nature. Indeed, if you locate any such system, I'd be
> grateful if you'd let me know about it!
>
> Good luck,
> Ginny Ryan
> Memorial University of Newfoundland
>
>                -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
>  To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
>  [log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
>         write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
>
> For the list archives and information about the organization,
>    its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to
>              http://www.stu.ca/inkshed/
>                 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Hi Emmie!  We don't evaluate our interviews with the students, but we do
evaluate the overall effectiveness of our Writing Centre's activities.
I am the coordinator of a WC at Huron College, which has about 1000
students.  We have about 25 hours per week of writing instruction
appointments, and we devise generic writing workshops as well as
workshops that are customized to fit with specific assignments in target
courses where professors asks us to.  Our survey questionnaire asks
students about their response to these activities.
If you do evaluations at your writing centre, please tell me about
experience? We have had a very positive response from students who
answer our surveys.  We did one survey in January 2004 with students who
were using the Writing Centre.  We did another survey in September, with
first year students who were writing the Writing Proficiency
Assessment.  Although they hadn't yet had a chance to use the Writing
Centre, the purpose of the survey was to see if they had heard of our
services and intended to use them.

If you don't do evaluations, what is your reason?
We don't evaluate our peer tutors but we do encourage reflection on
their part on what they liked about their sessions and what they would
like to do differently.  I have also encouraged them to keep a Writing
Instruction Log where they write about their reactions to things that
happen in the WC.  They are encouraged to mine this log for issues that
they might want to raise when we have meetings.

Which questions to you ask and which ones do you avoid asking?
I avoid asking about reactions to specific tutors.  Usually, if students
have a good experience with a tutor, we hear about it anyway, and I
don't want the tutors to feel anxious about being evaluated when they
are doing their job.  They are just getting used to the Centre
themselves, as they are undergraduates, so I feel they need all the
positive reinforcement they can get!
How do you gather the evaluations?
Students are handed sheets and they are invited to fill them out and
slip them into our sealed ballot box.  I open up the box at the end of
the survey gathering time (between 6 and 8 weeks long).
How do you analyze the results?
Two ways:  (1) counting responses and using percentages to describe
aggregate results.  (2) using anecdotal evidence to support my analysis
of the responses.
To whom do you report the results and how are they used?
I report in two ways.  (1) I let the students know the results through
an article in The Grapevine, the student newspaper.  (2) I report to the
Dean twice a year, and the survey results form part of that report.
What are the pitfalls?
How do you report negative feedback from students about the Centre?  I
feel that if we don't report it, the Dean and Principal are going to
hear it anyway.  Better hear it from me and framed in a positive way
(e.g. 99% good, and 1% bad feedback), then in a way that makes it seem
worse than it is.  Theresa.

If you have any questionnaires you are willing to share, I would be very
grateful.
Virginia, if you reply to me offline, I will send the questionnaire.  I
tried to send it to the Listserv as an attachment, but it bounced back.

                -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
  To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
  [log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
         write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]

For the list archives and information about the organization,
    its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to
              http://www.stu.ca/inkshed/
                 -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

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