What are the Writing Benchmarks?
The Writing Across the Curriculum program at Brooklyn College developed the Writing Benchmarks to provide a map of the development of a student’s writing over the course of his or her college career.
The Writing Benchmarks describe four stages of development:
The Writing Benchmarks provides a detailed rubric of the four stages. As an instructor, you may use this rubric as a suggestive set of guidelines for addressing student writing skills at different course levels and in different fields. The Writing Benchmarks also offer language that may be useful in designing clear writing assignments.
A few considerations when using the Benchmarks:
- Because not all incoming freshmen are Foundational writers, and not all graduating seniors are Accomplished writers, these stages are meant to describe general progress across the four categories of writing skills. We urge instructors to keep these levels of development in mind when designing writing assignments and assessing student work.
- Most writers will develop at different rates in each of the categories, and may find themselves described in more than one of the levels in the Benchmarks. Certainly, within a given class, students are likely to be writing at different stages of development.
- Most writers will find that they are more advanced writers in some disciplines (i.e. within their major) than in others.
- In trying to locate your students in the Benchmarks, it is useful to think about each category of the rubric separately, and to evaluate writing by skill, rather than within any given level.
- The language of the Benchmarks may be helpful in clarifying your expectations in a given writing assignment, and help students to understand the specific writing skills they are expected to demonstrate.
Can students use them?
- Students are not always aware of the writing expectations of their courses. Having access to this rubric will allow them to gauge their skills and take initiative to improve them.
- For further information about how students might make use of this rubric, see the Student Guide to the Writing Benchmarks.
By mapping the progression of writing skills from foundational to accomplished, we hope both professors and students can have a better sense of writing expectations and which skills to focus on and assess in a given course!