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Assessment of a Writing Workshop Model for First-Year Engineering Students

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 2B: Strategies for Writing and Communication Courses

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Patricia R Backer San Jose State University

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Dr. Backer been a faculty at SJSU since 1990 and held positions as an assistant professor, associate professor, professor, department chair, and director. Since coming to San Jose State University in 1990, I have been involved in the General Education program. Currently, Dr. Backer serves as the PI for two SJSU grants: the AANAPISI grant and the Title III Strengthening grant both from the U.S. Department of Education.

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This paper will report on a multi-year project to improve the writing skills of engineering freshmen at XXX University. For the last ten years, the college has offered an optional class to students who are not proficient in writing. Students can enroll in a one-unit lab class as many semesters as they wish to get practice in writing. The goal is to provide students with weekly writing activities that include: instruction in basic grammar, proofreading, and editing. In addition to study and practice exercises, students in this writing workshop have writing assignments, which provide practice in using correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph structure. Students have the opportunity to develop technical communication skills through written assignments such as memos, letters, and reports.

For three years, the CoE has selected freshmen from each entering class as the pilot group and an additional 50 matched students as the comparison group. These students were selected based on their English Placement Test (EPT) scores. The EPT is designed to assess the level of reading and writing skills of entering lower-division students so that they can be placed in appropriate English composition courses. This paper will compare the achievement of the students in the writing workshops with other English-remedial students at XXX University.

Backer, P. R. (2016, June), Assessment of a Writing Workshop Model for First-Year Engineering Students Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26328

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