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First-Year Writers Project and Directed Self-Placement Evaluation
The Directed Self-Placement research was conducted by Sweetland's Research Group, which included Colleen LaPere, Patrick Manning, Alan Hogg, Sweetland's recently-hired graduate student research assistants Laura Aull and Tim Green, as well as the Sweetland Center for Writing's director Anne Ruggles Gere. Together, they focused on the diverse experiences undergraduate students have with writing, both before they arrive at the University and as they continue their undergraduate educations.
In investigating directed self-placement, the group collected data from a wide variety of academic sources, including:
- the annually-administered Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), a survey of students as they begin their undergraduate careers;
- the University's Academic Reporting Toolkit (ART);
- the University's Data Warehouse;
- multiple surveys and interviews.
Using this research, they are redesigning this self-assessment process that helps undergraduate students place themselves in the first UM writing course that is best suited to their individual writing needs.
**The process in formulating the new DSP was multi-layered. The group:
- conducted extensive research on the state of DSP processes at other colleges and universities.
- identified struggling writers in Upper-Level Writing Requirement classes and then investigated their performance in their First-Year Writing Requirement courses. Working with the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, the group used this information to create surveys and identify interviewees among the target population. Ultimately, this stage resulted in the collocation of both quantitative data (e.g. grades) and qualitative data (e.g. interviews) from students.
- combined data from CIRP, ART, and the University's Admissions Department to better understand the trends that contribute to challenges and successes for students as incoming and ongoing writers.
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