University Writing Project Guidelines

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The University Writing Project (UWP) (formerly known as the Junior-Level Writing Project) was established in the mid-1990s to specifically measure the writing ability of NIU undergraduate students.  The UWP has evolved into a course-embedded assessment of students’ written assignments.  The Office of Assessment Services (OAS) invites faculty from across the campus to participate in the project each year by submitting completed course assignments to the OAS for review by faculty from the Department of English using a standardized assessment rubric.  

Benefits of the UWP to Faculty and Students:

The benefits of the UWP are numerous: 

1)      Faculty members have ongoing input into the writing assessments.  The course instructors who participate in the UWP will select the writing sample to be scored. 

2)      Faculty members are not asked to assign additional written coursework or give up valuable class time to participate in the UWP.  Writing samples are obtained from work already required in the selected courses and, as the writing sample will come from course-embedded work, there will be no need to use a class period for project administration.

 3)      Faculty members will receive valuable feedback on the writing abilities of their students.  Samples will be scored by trained scorers selected from the Department of English and results will be tabulated by department and college in aggregate format by the OAS. These data may be used for ongoing program assessment and will contribute to the assessment of general education at NIU.

Faculty Participation

Faculty choosing to participate in the UWP must agree to the following: 

1.      Faculty members will send a list of students’ names for each participating course to the OAS by February 22, 2013.   These will be kept confidential.

2.      Faculty members will send the instructions for the course assignment selected to the OAS to be shared with the English faculty evaluating the writing assignments by February 22, 2013.  The maximum number of pages for any one writing sample is ten pages; a minimum if three pages of text is required.

3.      Faculty members will send the student writing samples to the OAS no later than May 6, 2013 (these may be sent electronically or by hard copy).

4.      Faculty will inform their students that course assignments will be submitted to the OAS for institutional, college, and program assessment.

5.      Faculty will inform their students that the results of their individual assessments will remain confidential by the OAS and will not be shared with faculty, college administrators, or any other parties.  Aggregated results will be made publicly available. 

For more information, please contact Sherrill Morris in the Office of Assessment Services at

(815) 753-7120