A new online guide is available now to help faculty assess the written work of non-native English speakers in their classes. The section on writing assessment and best practices was developed by Karin Sandler, director of the Intensive English Program, and a committee comprised of faculty and staff from the IEP, the ESL Program in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Graduate School. The guide builds on the Teaching International Students resource guide that launched last year.
“This was a natural addition to the guide,” Sandler said. “Many faculty have questions about the best practices for assessing the writing of international students, especially those who are non-native speakers of English. This guide serves to meet this need.”
The new section provides some context on the way that international students view the Western system of writing as well as explains some misperceptions they may have on what constitutes good writing.
“Unfortunately, many international students equate good writing with perfect grammar or native-speaker proficiency and that just isn’t true,” Sandler added. “Good writing is so much more than that and is very much discipline and context-specific.”
“Writing reflects thought, and the evaluation of it requires insight into cultural differences that may influence the non-native speaker’s ability to express ideas through the written word,” said Nan Clarke, lead writing and grammar instructor for the IEP. “This resource provides that insight.”
Special guidance is also included for faculty who work with graduate students as their needs differ considerably from undergraduates.
“At the graduate level, academic writing styles and conventions follow common patterns with variations that are specific to each discipline or discourse community, as graduate students contribute to the scholarly conversation,” explained Katie Homar, director of academic and engineering writing support for the Graduate School. “Our guide equips advisors with strategies for helping multilingual writers make informed choices when writing in their disciplines.”
Resource Guide Feedback
The authors of the guide welcome and appreciate feedback and suggestions for future content.
“I feel that all instructors of international students will benefit from this resource to better understand and teach their international students,” added Robin Kube, senior lecturer in the ESL Program.
Members of the writing guide committee included Nan Clarke (IEP), Katie Homar (Graduate School), Robin Kube, Alison Turner, and Yashpreet Kaur (CHASS ESL Program).
An article about the Teaching International Resource guide originally appeared in the January 31, 2019 edition of GlobalEyes.