FYComp Assessment

The First-Year Composition Program at NIU is actively engaged in various forms of assessment, with the goal of using our assessment results to improve the program. In 2002-2003, we developed our own program outcomes based on the Council of Writing Program Administrators' Outcomes Statement. To support our development of authentic, evidence-based program assessment, we became a member of the first cohort of the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research in 2004, and have been improving our electronic portfolio pedagogy and assessments ever since. In 2014, we developed an assessment rubric that aligned with both with our outcomes statement and the Association of American Colleges & Universities VALUE rubrics.

More information about the history of eportfolios in NIU FYComp.


Electronic Assessment of Eportfolios

We collect student eportfolios from a sample of students enrolled in ENGL 103 and ENGL 203 in order to both assess our students according to our programmatic outcomes and to establish a longitudinal baseline of progress for students after their first semester of college. FYComp teachers convene for a series of half- or full-day reading sessions and score the eportfolios according to our  programmatic rubric. Eportfolios and readers are collected into groups to assure that teachers are not reading eportfolios from their own classes, and each eportfolio is scored by at least two different readers. Each scoring session begins with a series of calibration sets where readers are asked to score eportfolios and then results are discussed in the group. Group leaders themselves read, score and discuss the calibration sets previously. In addition, group leaders are given an administrative interface to the assessment engine that allows them to see and display scores from their group, and in the case of the calibration sets, from other groups as well. It is our belief that this calibration is an essential portion of the assessment process both because it allows users to see and possibly adjust their scoring given a communal norm, and more importantly facilitates a discussion about why certain features of a text are rewarded or penalized.

The assessment interface we use is an in-house custom-built interface tailored to our program. Enquiries about our assessment interface may be sent to Eric Hoffman at nwr@niu.edu, who will be happy to share information.

Educator Information