Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Sarah Liggett


Aware of the proliferation of discussion, activity, and even legislation regarding assessment of educational programs; informed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) regarding institutional effectiveness; and realizing that assessment efforts are a valid means of revealing programmatic strengths and weaknesses and, therefore, of suggesting where change is needed, the Louisiana College English faculty began in 1991 to study how best to assess the effectiveness of its core requirement in English, a three-semester writing program. The project that forms the basis for this dissertation had its inception in that endeavor. This descriptive study, designed to assess the effects and effectiveness of the Louisiana College writing program, incorporates both quantitative and qualitative research. Driven by the philosophy that ethical assessment must be tailored to the institution and program it investigates, the LC plan may serve as an adaptable model for others. It has entailed designing, piloting, and revising data-collection instruments; collecting information via instruments, interviews, printed sources, and observation as a teacher/administrator in the program; analyzing data; and reporting findings to all appropriate audiences. Data gathering instruments and participant selection reflect the understanding that both depth and breadth of investigation must be sufficient to encompass the whole of a writing program. Therefore, this assessment included study of responses by students, English teachers, other faculty, and alumni as well as the effects of the social, cultural, and institutional contexts in which the program is situated. Presentation of data not only details immediate findings but also suggests information yet to be gleaned for future understanding of the writing program effects. Documents reporting findings are tailored to appropriate audiences and included in their entirety as disseminated. Finally, the paper presents revisions of the plan and instruments for continual and incremental assessment at Louisiana College as well as recommendations for other institutions wishing to use information, instruments, and the process as models for designing their own writing program assessment.