Winner of the 2015 CPTSC Award for Excellence in Program Assessment
“This book will not merely be significant. It will be required reading for any WPA and for anyone preparing to become a WPA. Moreover, it will raise the level of awareness of and uses for statistical data in our field.”
—William Condon, Washington State University
Written for those who design, redesign, and assess writing programs, Very Like a Whale is an intensive discussion of writing program assessment issues. Taking its title from Hamlet, the book explores the multifaceted forces that shape writing programs and the central role these programs can and should play in defining college education.
Given the new era of assessment in higher education, writing programs must provide valid evidence that they are serving students, instructors, administrators, alumni, accreditors, and policymakers. This book introduces new conceptualizations associated with assessment, making them clear and available to those in the profession of rhetoric and composition/writing studies. It also offers strategies that aid in gathering information about the relative success of a writing program in achieving its identified goals.
Philosophically and historically aligned with quantitative approaches, White, Elliot, and Peckham use case study and best-practice scholarship to demonstrate the applicability of their innovative approach, termed Design for Assessment (DFA). Well grounded in assessment theory, Very Like a Whale will be of practical use to new and seasoned writing program administrators alike, as well as to any educator involved with the accreditation process.