Sustaining Argument: Centralizing the Role of the Writing Center in Program Assessment
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In “Why Assessment?” (2009), Gerald Graff argues that the critical conversations arising from regular program assessment are often as important as the actual findings themselves: outcomes assessment, he writes, is not only fundamental to measuring students’ performance, but potentially “transformative” in terms of creating a recognizable dialogue about — and a more lively institutional culture of — good teaching (153). Agreeing with Graff’s claim, I argue that writing centers should take an active, if not central, role in the assessment of writing program outcomes by positioning themselves at the center of the evaluation process. My experiences as a writing center director involved in our university’s less-than-three-year-old writing program assessment has led me to this conclusion.