Submitted Fall, 2003
The nine graduate writing samples that we scored ranged from a high of 18.5/20 to a low of 11/20, with scores in three groups: 3 in the 11-12.5 range, averaging a score of 11.67 (58%); 3 in the 15-15.7 range, averaging 15.22 (76%), and 3 in the 17.3-18.5 range, averaging a score of 17.78 (89%). The composite average was 14.89 (74%), just above the midpoint between the high and low scores. The range and distribution of scores indicate that, although all the samples averaged in the upper half of our rubric, about a third of our students are producing written work below our expectations. As we continue to analyze writing samples over time, we would like to see a decrease in the percentile scoring near the midpoint of the rubric scale. These numbers may reflect the weakness of our recruiting methods, as students may be entering the program with minimal skills; the quality of our instruction, since we emphasize writing as a major component of our program; or both.