First-Year Writing (CFYW) Project

In Fall 2018, a random subset of 200 “Comparative Rhetorical Analysis” student essays from 615 total students across all 30 sections of FYW 150 was collected. (This sample size reflects a 5.7% margin of error.) A team of 15 faculty scorers from across a range of disciplines analyzed the essays using five criteria: Audience Awareness; Analysis of Multiple Discourses; Development, Organization, and Use of Evidence; Sources & Citation; and Syntax & Mechanics. Each essay was read by at least two scorers, and the paired set of scores that was most consistent with each other was used in the final compilation of results.


CFYW Findings

Figure 1. Frequency of scores across each criterion in the CFYW rubric achieved by first-semester USD students in Fall 2018 FYW 150; 200 student essays, each read by two scorers (400 reads). Scores of “0” (“unable to score”, 7 counts total) were not included in graph.


Download Full Report


Faculty scorer feedback suggestions and the Writing Program Director’s faculty training information were compiled to create a “Faculty Tips for FYW 150 Courses” document. This document – as well as the rubric that was collaboratively devised and revised for this assessment – will be provided to all faculty teaching First-Year Writing courses. It is hoped this additional faculty support will help future students taking this course. These materials can be accessed here: