Basic WAC principles

- Writing is not simply a form of assessment but an essential part of the learning process.


- Frequent and well-designed assignments, formal and informal, promote the kind of active, critical learning essential to genuine mastery of course material.


- Good writing assignments should be an integral part of course design, devised to accomplish the learning aims of particular courses.


- Surface correctness (freedom from error) is only one characteristic of effective writing. Equally if not more important are conscious purpose, clear structure, cogent reasoning, and adequate development of ideas.


- Writing is discipline- or context-specific, involving questions of audience, purpose, tone, structure, and format. Discipline teachers are able to provide the most relevant instruction in writing for their own disciplines.


- Writing is a process, from the generation of ideas through drafting, revision, and editing -- the same kind of process faculty use. Assignments should be designed to encourage students to make use of the writing process.


- Some writing is informal or "low-stakes" – done to gather and sort ideas, to respond to reading, to reflect upon work done: in short, writing done to learn rather than to demonstrate learning.


- Teachers need not grade, comment on, or even read every piece of low-stakes writing they ask students to do.


- Student writing—and confidence in writing—improves with practice, especially when assignments build in process and allow opportunities for revision.

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