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The Writing Center: Is it Effective?

The ability to evaluate whether or not a program is effective is at the heart of all assessment practices. The ability to gauge whether Writing Centers are effective is worth looking into since the Writing Center continues to be component of academia. (admin stats ). In understanding any writing center serves a variety of purposes to a variety of different people, it becomes apparent that assessment will be understood and carried out in a variety of different ways depending on the overall objective of who is conducting the research. As Eric Hobson points out that centers are highly idiosyncratic spaces; their physical , their institutional location and allegiance, their consulting routines, staffing choices,-administrative makeup are all determined as much by local contexts as any disciplinary norm. (166) With this in mind, it becomes apparent that measuring the efficacy of a particular program will be as as its constituent parts. There is much overlap in how different

Administrative Assessment
Administers will often assesses writing programs for very different reasons than a Writing Consultant or university faculty. There focus of administrators is to highlight aspects of the program in order to garner and allocate resources and monies to continue and improve. The University of Louisville conducted such an assessment and has made their material available. ( The assessment strategy was an email survey

Writing Consultant Assessment (attach tutor questionnaire)
Faculty Assessment (attach employee survey)
Student/Client based Assessment:
Students and clients of a particular writing center are a very valuable source of information about what aspects of the program are working and which ones may need improvement. Again the best strategy is a survey given to the student or client at the end of each session. (add examples of questions one should include on a survey)
See the attached article for an interesting student survey showing how perception of a effectiveness is based on the final grade received.
How Was Your Session at the Writing Center? Pre- and Post-Grade Student Evaluations
Julie Bauer Morrison and Jean-Paul Nadeau
Additional Resources
When Hard Questions Are Asked: Evaluating Writing Centers
James H. Bell
Does Frequency of Visits to the Writing Center Increase Student Satisfaction? A Statistical Correlation Story
Peter Carino and Doug Enders
Maintaining Writing Center Viability in the Twenty-First Century
Muriel Harris
Maintaining Our Balance: Walking the Tightrope of Competing Epistemologies
Eric H. Hobson
Writing Center Work: An Ongoing Challenge
Harvey Kail
"A Review of Writing Centers: Theory and Administration" [Adobe Acrobat]
How Are We Doing?

The Centered Writing Center
Linda Shamoon and Deborah Burns present a compelling argument for directive learning in the writing center. Far from being an outdated mode associated with New Criticism, Shamoon and Burns counter the methodological vilification of directive pedagogy by comparing it with a master-student Working from the assumption that students can be
characterized at certain stages between novice and master it follows if students are exercising different cognitive skill at different states in their learning, it makes sense that they may be responsive to different kinds of information and tutoring styles at different stages, .one tutoring approach does not fit all. (139) Shamoon and Burns equate writing development with artistic development as well as development in medical professions. In other words, directive pedagogy helps students achieve an ever increasing level of expertise or which is directly applicable and valuable to the process and profession of writing and writing development. Shamoon and Burns argue that there is much to be gained from a master. Currently writing center tutors are supposed to guide the student to find their own voice , but typically the end goal of the tutor is not to instruct or share their particular repertoire with the student.

The De-Centered Writing Center
Terrance Riley presents a less optimistic view concerning how a group gains (21). He suggests that writing centers will disappear but rather, even worse, that they will, for the purposes of institutional and financial reasons move into the fold/curriculum through mainstreaming or the professionalization of the work. Riley details this : high idealism and frustration with institutional inertia reduls in the attempt to reform and renew the parent discipline from within, an attempt which gradually but surely gives way to a series of compromises in which the original packed of revolutionary energy is tapped off into academic business as (21).
According to Riley conventionally-measured advance in our professional status, every move closer to the mainstream, reduces our variety and our breadth of (30). Institutional constraints/expectations have everything to do with how the Writing Center is able to effectively help the student achieve their goals. Riley predicts that Writing Centers will suffer the same fate as previous academic fringe group such as American literature and Literary theory, he argues that in order for a particular focus of discipline worth its salt or in the (21) will inevit