2007 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 24, 2007
HUB West Ballroom

Session Description


The Effectiveness of the Interdisciplinary Writing Program in Boosting Student Grades in the Linked Courses

Nancy Kool (English) and Ana Larson (Astronomy)


The goal of the interdisciplinary writing program (IWP) at the Univerity of Washington is to help students learn about writing in a particular discipline; students in the program attend the related courses during the same quarter. A writing link with Astronomy 101 was begun Spring Quarter, 2002. Almost immediately the instructors involved noticed a secondary effect: As a group, those students enrolled in the IWP link did better overall in the Astronomy 101 course. We present the results for 8 quarters total (2002 - 2006), and show that the trend has continued. We also address the statistics that show the backgrounds of the students in the IWP link do not differ significantly from the general astronomy population. While these kinds of results may be expected, this is the first study to quantify what previously has been only anecdotal evidence.



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