If you are assigned to teach a WAC-designated course, there is a chance that your class section might be randomly selected to participate in the program’s assessment.
All syllabi for WAC-designated courses contain the following statement:
If this class is selected to participate in the university-wide WAC assessment program, you will be required to access the online assessment server, complete the consent form and survey, and submit electronically a first and final draft of a near-end-of-term-paper.
Every semester, about 15-20 sections are randomly selected by the office of Institutional Effectiveness & Analysis to participate in the WAC assessment. All students in those sections are required to participate.
The most frequently asked questions from faculty are listed below. Additional questions might be addressed in the Student section.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the WAC assessment?
The WAC assessment is designed to measure the overall success of the WAC program at FAU. WAC is a University-mandated writing program intended to enhance the State of Florida’s Gordon Rule requirement for writing and communication. The WAC program guarantees that writing instruction is provided across the University and across the disciplines. Therefore, students have increased opportunities to improve their writing throughout their undergraduate careers. The WAC assessment is part of WAC’s annual program review.
How are sections selected to participate?
Every semester, about 15-20 sections are randomly selected by the office of Institutional Effectiveness & Analysis to participate in the WAC assessment. If a faculty member in the resulting pool has had a section participate in the assessment in the last two years, any sections taught by that faculty member are eliminated from the pool. All students in selected sections are required to participate.
How do I know whether my class section was picked to participate in the WAC assessment?
Near the start of the semester, you will receive an email from email@example.com letting you know that one of your sections will be participating. Once the drop/add period is over, a second email will be sent to tell you which section has been selected to participate. Around midterm, you will get a message reminding you that your class will be participating. Student will not be notified by WAC about the assessment until after midterm. You will be copied on messages that are sent to your students. As students begin to complete the assessment, WAC will send you updates to notify you which students still need to do so.
I have not yet participated in the WAC Faculty Training Seminar. Should my section still be included in the WAC assessment?
One of my sections recently participated in the WAC assessment. How often will one of my sections have to participate?
Faculty who have a section participate in the WAC assessment this term will not be asked to participate again for two years. However, faculty may choose to volunteer to participate more frequently.
How long will it take my students to participate?
Completing the assessment is fully online and should take about 15 minutes.
When do students have to complete their participation in the WAC assessment?
The deadline is the last day of as classes listed on the Academic Calendar. If the paper is due after the last day of classes, the deadline is the last day of the exam period.
I am an Instructor of Record (IOR) for a WAC course that is taught by a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) or I teach the lecture session of a WAC course while GTAs manage discussion sections. What is my role in the WAC assessment?
In these cases, the GTA assigned to the course section involved will be the one who receives notifications from the WAC assessment website. The role of the IOR or lecturing faculty is simply to remind the GTA to follow up with students about completing the assessment. The WAC Director or Assistant Director may contact you separately to let you know that one of the GTAs you supervise will be participating in the assessment.
How will papers be evaluated?
Papers are evaluated based on the 14-item WAC assessment rubric, available on the WAC website.
Who will be reading student papers?
Papers are read by the specially trained WAC raters. All raters are from FAU and have experience teaching WAC courses. Raters come from across disciplines and faculty rank.
Can I become a WAC rater?
Yes. Any GTA, instructor, tenure-track, or adjunct faculty who regularly teaches WAC-designated courses may sign up to be a rater. The WAC rating occurs annually in May after grades are due for the spring semester. The rating typically lasts 5-6 days, depending on the volume of papers from the year. For more information, visit the Raters section of the WAC website or contact the WAC Director, Jeff Galin (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the WAC Assistant Director, Julianne Zvolensky (email@example.com).
How are scores reported?
Scores are reported as averages to each department that has WAC-designated courses. No individual student or faculty scores are reported.
How will this affect my annual evaluation in my college/department?
Scores for specific faculty members are not reported to departments. All scores are reported as averages. WAC assessment results are not reported as part of faculty annual evaluations nor are they sent to the faculty’s college/department. However, individual faculty may request their own score report for their own personal use to inform their course planning. They may choose to include their score report in their own annual evaluation at their discretion to highlight achievements or growth.
How are the papers that students submit to the WAC assessment website used?
Data collected from the assessment is used to make improvements to the WAC program and recommendations to departments with WAC courses. Examples might be new trainings for faculty or changes to departmental curriculum.
Will I see the scores from my section(s)?
Scores for specific faculty members are not reported to departments. All scores are reported as averages. Individual faculty may request their own score report for their own personal use to inform their course planning.
How can I request a copy of my section’s assessment scores?
If I have had more than one section participate in the WAC assessment over time, can I compare the results?
For sections that have participated in the assessment since Summer 2015, comparing results in future semesters is now possible. Please contact the WAC Director, Jeff Galin (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the WAC Assistant Director, Julianne Zvolensky (email@example.com).
How can I use my section’s scores from the WAC assessment to introduce strategies in my course to improve student achievement?
You might be interested in setting benchmarks for improvement in future semesters. Please contact the WAC Director, Jeff Galin (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the WAC Assistant Director, Julianne Zvolensky (email@example.com).