Mid-semester Learning Check Point
Contributed by Elizabeth Chilbert Powers
Course Name/Level: First-Year Writing
This in-class activity is an example of one that reflects the principles in the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing. You can view a list of other assignments, activities, and program-wide approaches.
Brief Course Description for Assignment/Activity
I’ve used this activity for both ENC 1101 (Freshman Writing) and ENC 1102 (Freshman Writing & Research). These two courses are the standard courses of the first-year writing program at Florida State University.
I see the activity working well with two aspects of the framework—metacognition and engagement. The students are actively reflecting on the course outcomes, and must connect their ideas and expectations of building knowledge in the classroom with those outlined on the course syllabus. The activity works for student engagement in that they are self-assessing the learning they’ve experienced in/through the class, and the learning they want to experience in the remainder of the course.
The activity takes place about halfway through the semester. The students are asked to revisit the course outcomes on the syllabus (taken from the WPA Outcomes Statement). The students are put in groups, and each group is assigned a section of the outcomes statement (ex: rhetorical knowledge, processes, etc.). For each bullet point (ex: “Students should understand the relationships among language, knowledge, and power”) the students reflect on the meaning of the statement, find examples of how they’ve achieved this, and ask questions about any confusion they might have about the statement.
Usually, it takes a whole 90-minute class period for the groups to answer the questions and organize their presentations. Then, in the next class period, each group presents their reflections and leads a discussion about aspects of the outcome they feel comfortable with, and aspects that need more attention in class.
I’d like to think this assignment connects to valuable composition theories that value self-assessment, reflection, and metacognition in order for learning transfer to occur.