Assessing Advanced Writing with AAC&U's VALUE Rubric: A Four‐Institution Collaboration

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John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


Effective written communication is an essential learning outcome prioritized by institutions of higher education and employers alike (Hart Research Associates 2015). Many colleges and universities require that students take courses in writing and composition in their first year. These foundational courses are often supplemented with advanced, discipline‐specific writing courses enabling institutions to examine the development of competencies at the individual level, as well as affording an inter‐institutional comparison of student writing over time (Kelly‐Riley 2015). Rubrics such as the Association of American Colleges and Universities' (AAC&U) Written Communication VALUE Rubric (2009) allow educators to evaluate student writing ability. Using the VALUE rubric, raters distinguish levels of student competency on a scale from 0‐to‐4, applied to five components of effective writing: context and purpose, content development, genre, sources and evidence, and syntax and mechanics. The rubric is designed to allow comparisons of student writing across disciplines from first‐year students to near‐graduates within an institution, as well as across institutions.