Challenging Perceptions: Exploring the Relationship between ELL students and writing centers
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In an attempt to create more meaningful and effective assessment, the Howe Writing Center at Miami University implemented a new post-consultation/exit survey. During the course of the Fall 2012 semester, over 800 students responded to the post-consultation survey. Writing center theory has documented the limitations of the post-consultation survey; however, this type of feedback still represents the best and most accessible way to assess and expand the knowledge of writing centers. This assessment project provided important feedback concerning the writing center at Miami University about student demographics that use the writing center, including academic year and classes students wanted to work on. The assessment project also contributes to writing center theory and discourse by providing a different narrative for non-native English speaking students and native English speaking students that use the writing center. The assessment challenges the view that writing from non-native English speaking students is only concerned with so-called "lower order" writing issues and writing from native English speaking students is primarily concerned with so-called "higher order" writing issues. Instead, it was found that non-native English speaking students are interested in working on many "higher order" concerns and were very similar, after sentence-level concerns, in their writing needs to native English speaking students.