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Writing Instruction Support: Writing Expectations at WWU



Writing Assessment/Accountability Work Group, 12 May 2006

Writing proficiency represents an acquired set of knowledge, attitudes, competencies, and skills that develop and mature over time—given appropriate instruction, practice, response, and assessment. 

Given that key assumption, the following statement offers a framework for describing what students should understand and do by the time they graduate from Western Washington University. To realize these expectations, students must receive regular and ongoing opportunities throughout their undergraduate careers for writing instruction, practice, feedback, and reflection. 

While this statement outlines expectations for students, it also serves as a conceptual framework for promoting faculty conversations about writing instruction and assessment. In order to enact these expectations for students, faculty need regular and ongoing opportunities for dialogue and for institutional support in teaching and assessing writing. 

Rather than a mere checklist, this statement is a working, evolving document—one subject to consideration and adaptation according to disciplinary needs.

Rhetorical Knowledge

  • Understand and address the needs of a particular rhetorical situation and purpose.
  • Recognize and address the needs of different audiences.
  • Determine and apply an appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality.
  • Understand and use principles of genre analysis.

Critical Reasoning

  • Write and read for varying purposes: discovery, learning, thinking, and communicating.
  • Develop and articulate a significant individual perspective, one that is based on evidence from multiple sources.
  • Articulate a clear line of reasoning to explain and illustrate own perspective.
  • Evaluate, choose, and integrate ideas from others into one’s own perspective.
  • Arrange a logically connected composition according to purpose, reader, and genre expectations.

Composing Process

  • Analyze writing tasks before and during writing process.
  • Implement a range of writing strategies for planning, generating, organizing, revising, editing, and publishing.
  • Develop ideas over time/drafts, demonstrating an ability to re-think ideas and to revise holistically.
  • Engage and consider other readers’ responses in revising and editing own work.
  • Assess effectiveness of one’s own processes and products, including rhetorical and content choices and construction.


  • Apply genre conventions appropriately.
  • Integrate visuals and other materials according to disciplinary conventions.
  • Document ideas and cite sources according to disciplinary conventions.
  • Know and apply conventions of standard edited English (such as paragraphing, presentation format, grammar, punctuation, spelling).

Group Members: David Carroll, Kyle Crowder, Roberta Kjesrud, Dan Larner, Gary McKinney (sec.)

 Marilyn Miller, Gerry Prody, Donna Qualley, and Carmen Werder (chair)