Composing Literacies: Writing at Cornell documents the literacy development of Cornell freshmen (class of 2013) before they have embarked on their first semester of course work and again at the end of the first academic year, when they will have completed either one or two FWS.
The first purpose of the project to engage students in a formative assessment of their literacies -- to have them reflect on their reading/writing/composing abilities and how these change over time, especially in the environment of higher education. Formative assessments, in other words, allow for students to take control over their learning. Studies have demonstrated that when this occurs, students are more motivated to learn, and they learn valuable skills including self-assessment, critical self-reflection, and goal setting. The second purpose of the project stands to benefit Cornell educators, whether graduate teaching assistants or faculty, who work directly with undergraduates and who seek to enhance the learning experience of their students.
Ultimately, we will be better able to understand what skills our students bring with them to Cornell; what specific pedagogical practices have contributed to their literacy development; how we may promote this development; and what they will take away with them after that first year.