Self-Initiated Writing Center Visits and Writing Development: A First-Year Writing Assessment from Praxis: A Writing Center Journal Vol. 20 No. 1

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Sampson Anderson, Salena

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This article analyzes the relationship between writing center use and writing improvements from the first to second semester in first-year university writing assessment data. The study correlates self-initiated writing center use and improvement in several areas, including title, thesis, organizational statement, organization, use of evidence, and clarity. These improvements contrast with those for peers who did not visit the center or who only visited when required. Writing center visits may directly impact assessment results when students visit the center with papers later designated for assessment. However, many assessment samples were not part of a writing center session. Instead, there may be differences in the population of students who self-initiate writing center appointments and those who do not. For instance, students with self-initiated writing center visits were less likely to identify as writers, and their initial assessment results were slightly lower than their peers’. However, by the second semester, their assessment scores generally surpassed those of their more confident peers. These findings suggest that students who self-initiate writing center visits are, as a group, better positioned to achieve increases in writing assessment scores across their first year because of productive writing center sessions and an open mindset for seeking writing support. However, this article also shows how quantitative data from writing program assessment may be leveraged against qualitative writing center data to highlight and address inequities, as observed in the case study of a multilingual writer whose assessment results did not feature the same positive changes as those of her peers.


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