Focusing on the Blind Spots: RAD-Based Assessment of Students' Perceptions of a Community College Writing Center
MetadataShow full item record
This longitudinal mixed-methods study assesses students’ perceptions of the writing center at a large (approximately 11,325 students) multi-campus two-year college. The survey was collaboratively designed, with faculty and student participation; it presents findings from 865 student respondents, collected by peer tutors-in-training. The study offers a baseline assessment (Fall 2014) of the writing center, prior to wide-sweeping changes in recruitment, staffing, and training models, as well as a postassessment (Fall 2015) analysis of the changes in student knowledge of the WC and its purpose. It also offers data on the trajectory of student development in relation to number of sessions attended. In 2014, students’ experiences at the writing center were inconsistent; the poorly articulated mission of the WC adversely affected students’ knowledge scores, and the center’s reliance on editoriallike feedback, given predominately by adjunct faculty, contributed to inconsistent reportage in perceived learning by attended sessions. Many of these trends, however, reversed in 2015. This paper seeks to demonstrate the important role that RAD research can play in evaluating student learning within writing center contexts and articulating how and at what moments, and under what conditions, learning and development occurs in the student-writing center relationship. It also offers a replicable experimental method that researchers at other institutions can adapt and apply to their own institutional contexts and programmatic needs.