RooWriter - Writing Assessment

Version :6.9

Brief History of the RooWriter Initiative


The Arts and Sciences (A&S) Faculty passed the following motion on April 14, 2009:

"An ad hoc subcommittee of the Campus Writing Board (CWB) should be appointed by the CWB Chair in consultation with the Board, and should be empowered to research the consequences of eliminating the WEPT exam, and propose either retaining the current procedure or adopting alternative models of writing assessment. The ad hoc committee should report through the Curriculum Committee to the Steering Committee in time for the latter to present this matter to the Faculty at the December, 2009, A&S meeting."

During April - July 2009, the CWB primarily researched writing assessments across the country at 28 universities, collected information on the WEPT, and interviewed 13 WI (Writing Intensive) instructors at UMKC. On Oct. 30, 2009 the CWB submitted the RooWriter recommendation to the Curriculum Committee and the A&S Faculty. The recommendation passed both the Curriculum Committee on Nov. 13, 2009, and the Steering Committee on Nov. 17, 2009. The recommendation was then discussed at the A&S Faculty meeting on Dec. 8, 2009, but not yet voted upon.


On Feb. 12, 2010, a subcommittee of the CWB met with IT to discuss a RooWriter web site. A revised RooWriter motion passed the Curriculum Committee on Feb. 19, 2010, and included the friendly amendment "that the College adopt the RooWriter, a Directed Self-Placement writing assessment model, as an alternative to the WEPT, with the aim of a fully implemented replacement of the WEPT in two years." The RooWriter motion then passed the Steering Committee on Feb. 22, 2010, at which they received the motion very positively, and several expressed their congratulations for the "good work" and "due process". [Note that the University News published an article on Mar. 1, 2010 titled "To WEPT or not to WEPT" criticizing the WEPT.] The A&S Faculty voted on Mar. 9, 2010 to table the motion due to several questions raised. On Apr. 13, 2010, the A&S Faculty voted to remove a sentence from the catalog about what happens when a student fails the WEPT. This was a suggestion of the Steering Committee to keep the RooWriter motion alive. [The University News published an article on Sept. 14, 2010 titled "Top 10 funny things about UMKC"; the WEPT was #4.] [Note that the University News published another article on Oct. 4, 2010 titled "'The WEPT is a waste of time', An exam that lacks support from students" once more criticizing the WEPT.] So, as of the end of 2010, the A&S Faculty were in favor of a change in the nature of the WEPT for 2011-2012, and the CWB agreed to continue working on next steps.


On Mar. 24, 2011, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs called a meeting of the CWB and others to discuss the WEPT and RooWriter. [The University News published an article on June 1, 2011 titled "WEPT: The Good & the Bad", and another article on Sept. 26, 2011 titled "Fast Fact: Passing the WEPT."] Further such meetings were held on Nov. 15, Nov. 28, and Dec. 5, 2011. At the Dec. 5 meeting the name of the CWB was changed to the "University Writing and Reading Board (UWRB)".


The UWRB met primarily to discuss the RooWriter on Jan. 30, Feb. 27, Mar. 19, Apr. 23, and June 4, with RooWriter IT committee meetings on May 21, June 7, and June 27, 2012. Both a RooWriter Proposal and a draft RooWriter web site were finished on July 18, 2012. The proposal (including the RooWriter draft web site URL) was submitted to the Provost at that time, and the draft web site was advertised to the UWRB faculty. [On Sept. 4, the University News published an article titled "Weeping over the WEPT".] On Sept. 24, the RooWriter Proposal was presented to the Deans Council meeting, and met with approval. The Provost then approved continued work on the RooWriter. The UWRB met on Sept. 25 and planned several committees to work on aspects of the RooWriter. On Oct. 2, the RooWriter Proposal was presented to the Faculty Senate. [On Oct 4-5, UWRB members interviewed for the University News article published on Oct. 8 titled "Weep no more, Controversial test may soon meet its demise".] The RooWriter Proposal was presented at the A&S Faculty meeting on Oct. 9, 2012. On Oct 12, UWRB members met with the Executive Committee of the Student Government Association, and then with the larger SGA Senate on Oct. 15. The RooWriter web site committee met with IT on Oct. 15. The Faculty Senate voted to approve the RooWriter at their Oct. 16 meeting. The UWRB met on Oct. 18. [On Oct. 22, the University News published an article titled "RooWriter to replace the WEPT".] UWRB members made a RooWriter presentation to the School of Education, and the School of Biological Sciences on Oct. 26, and A&S Advising and APP on Nov. 2. The RooWriter web site committee met with IT on Nov. 8, and the UWRB met on Nov. 15. UWRB members made a RooWriter presentation to the School of Computing and Engineering on Nov. 16, the School of Dentistry on Nov. 26, and the School of Nursing on Dec. 12.

Summary of RooWriter Presentations made in 2012:

  • Sept. 24 Deans Council
  • Oct. 2 Faculty Senate
  • Oct. 9 A&S Faculty Meeting
  • Oct. 12 SGA Executive Committee
  • Oct. 15 SGA Senate
  • Oct. 18 Bloch School of Management
  • Oct. 26 School of Education
  • Oct. 26 School of Biological Sciences
  • Nov. 2 A&S Advising and APP
  • Nov. 16 School of Computing and Engineering
  • Nov. 26 School of Dentistry
  • Dec. 12 School of Nursing

  • 2013

    UWRB members made presentations to the Advisors Forum on Jan. 8, and to a FaCET Workshop on Jan. 30. The UWRB met primarily to discuss the RooWriter on Jan. 16 & 31, Feb. 14 & 27, Mar. 14, Apr.4, 16, & 30, May 22, June 4 & 20, and July 11 & 31. A UWRB committee met with IT nearly every week during the Spring semester. [On Feb. 18 the University News published an article titled “Grammer Matter To” mentioning the WEPT as “pointless”.] On Feb. 20, UWRB members made a presentation to a joint meeting of UMKC Fraternities and Sororities. In March the RooWriter 2013 catalog entry was posted. [On Mar. 29, the Assessible Roo newsletter article “Teaching Marsupials to Write: Innovative RooWriter Assessment set to push University beyond WEPT” appeared.] On April 9 the Coordinator of Writing Assessment (CWA)/Assistant Teaching Professor position was posted. In April a RooWriter Evaluator Training site was created in Blackboard. On Apr. 16 a RooWriter announcement went out to academic advisors. UWRB members made a presentation to the Deans Council on Apr. 22, after which the RooWriter Evaluator job announcement was emailed to all graduate students. (Over 40 Evaluator responses were subsequently received from across the campus.) [Articles appeared about the RooWriter on Apr. 23 in UMatters, and on Apr. 30 in the USucceed blog.] UWRB members were interviewed by the University News on Apr. 26. On May 10 the UWRB held CWA candidate interviews. On the same day, May 10, UWRB members met with the English GTAs and full-time Lecturers about RooWriter Evaluator jobs. The CWA began work on June 3. [The last paper WEPT was held on June 12.] On June 12, the Provost’s blog posted the announcement “Wood appointed as Coordinator of Writing Assessment”. The first in-person RooWriter Evaluator training sessions were held on July 9 & 17. Meetings of the UWRB continued in August and every other week during the Fall semester. On Sept. 6, the RooWriter officially launched. On Sept. 9, a RooWriter press release was distributed by UMKC, the article “New RooWriter Website Launched” was posted on the USucceed blog, and the article “RooWriter replaces the Written English Proficiency Test” was posted on UMatters. On Sept. 10, a FaCET workshop was held by the CWA on creating RooWriter Reading Packets. On Sept. 11 UWRB members were interviewed for the Sept. 16 U-News article “RooWriter replaces the WEPT”. On Sept. 18 another in-person RooWriter Evaluator training session was held for all Evaluators. On Sept. 23, the Assessable Roo published the article “The RooWriter Report: Writing Assessment Went Live September 6”.Another in-person Evaluator training session was held on Nov. 6.

    Summary of RooWriter Presentations made in 2013:

    • Jan. 8 - Advisors Forum
    • Jan. 30 - FaCET Workshop
    • Feb. 20 - Fraternities and Sororities joint meeting
    • Apr. 22 - Deans Council
    • May 10 - English GTAs and full-time Lecturers
    • Sept. 10 – FaCET Workshop – Creating RooWriter Reading Packets
    • Nov. 4 - Deans Council
    • Nov. 5 - Faculty Senate
    • Dec. 4 - Advising Leadership Team meeting


    On Jan. 21, the U-News published "RooWriter receives positive feedback from students." The UWRB met about the RooWriter starting Jan. 24 and every two weeks thereafter. An Evaluator training session was held on Feb. 1.The first RooWriter poster began distribution across campus on Feb. 21. Another Evaluator training session, primarily for new Evaluators, was held on March 7.Further regular training sessions will be held as needed. On June 15 all Reading Packets were replaced. In September, the RooWriter reporting features were finished, a new CWA was hired, and the UWRB piloted using the RooWriter as part of several volunteered Discourse 300 sections. On the Sept. 6 one-year anniversary of the RooWriter launch, about 1,600+ essays had been submitted, with about 3,000+ evaluations completed, and there were about 18 Evaluators on staff. On Oct. 7, UMatters published "Faculty Reminder: RooWriter Deadline is Approaching", and on Oct. 14, the USucceed blog published "RooWriter Reminders for Registration and Graduation".

    Summary of RooWriter presentations made in 2014:
    • Feb. 12 - School of Nursing
    • Feb. 13 - Discourse - Anchor meeting
    • Feb. 14 - Discourse - Anchor meeting
    • Feb. 24 - "Preparing to take the RooWriter" - Writing Studio
    • Feb. 27 - "Preparing to take the RooWriter" - Writing Studio
    • Feb. 28 - Physics department
    • Mar. 3 - Theatre department
    • Mar. 7 - Communication Studies department
    • Mar. 10 - Foreign Languages and Literature department
    • Mar. 10 - Mathematics & Statistics department
    • Mar. 21 - School of Education
    • Apr. 2 - English Language and Literature department
    • Apr. 4 - Psychology department
    • Apr. 10 - Sociology department
    • Apr. 18 - History department
    • Apr. 25 - School of Computing and Engineering
    • Apr. 28 - Criminal Justice & Criminology department
    • Aug. 22 - FaCET Symposium - RooWriter 101
    • Sept. 22 - Economics department
    • Oct. 3 - Communication Studies department
    • Oct. 21 - Architecture, Urban Planning & Design department
    • Nov. 13 - School of Biological Sciences
    • Nov. 14 - Theatre department
    • Dec. 11 - Sociology department
    • Dec. 11 - RooWriter Focus Group


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