Students who come to The Writing Center may come on their own, hoping to learn how to develop their writing, while others may come because it is required for a class. Either way, what do students think about using The Writing Center?
In the Spring of 2016, undergraduate students with writing center appointments were asked to take a 10-question survey immediately after their appointment. The purpose of the survey was for students to give feedback about their experience. Over the three weeks the survey was available, 32 students chose to give responses. IPFW student, Sylvain Laliberté, compiled the findings of the surveys in a paper for his English W397 class:
According to the survey results, 56% of students came to the center with a general idea of what they wanted help with, 31% came with specific concerns about their paper, and 13% came because their professor offered extra credit for a writing center visit.
Students wrote that they hoped consultants would:
- be open-minded and non-judgmental
- be understanding
- be kind and helpful
- be comprehensive
- have a non-threatening attitude
- be knowledgeable
Given the expectations that students had, a majority of all of the students checked that they were extremely satisfied with tutor participation during their consultation (78%) and were extremely satisfied with the consultation itself (72%).
Also, 26 of the 32 students had used the center before. This shows that people often come back after their first visit. In addition, 72% of the students also marked that they would recommend The Writing Center to a friend.
Here is what they had to say about The Writing Center:
- “A lot more helpful than I was anticipating”
- “Makes me understand that these programs help a lot”
- “The tutor really helped me to find resources that I needed”
- “The tutor was very nice and knowledgeable on the subject and was able to help me without making me feel stupid.”
Overall, the results of the surveys have helped us to see that the majority of students who use our services find the consultations to be worth it.
Opinions about Writing Centers in General:
In Sylvain’s paper, he not only discusses the results of his survey, but also quotes other scholarly sources to back up his findings. One of the authors he introduces is Agnieszka Bielinska-Kwapisz, who organized a different study in 2015 with 315 undergraduate students that had taken advantage of a writing center. In her article, “Impact of Writing Proficiency and Writing Center Participation on Academic Performance”, she notes the findings of her study. She explains that most students visit writing centers because they have to, but still find value in a consultation. A writing consultant may be able to make suggestions in the writing that a student hadn’t thought to ask about. Bielinska-Kwapisz also found that “students who sought support did significantly better on required writing assignments, with an average grade increase of 9 percent”. Essentially, when students come into the writing center with an open mind and ready to learn, they are more likely to gain the most assistance from the consultation. Striving for positive, nonjudgmental attitudes and being open-minded are keys, for both students and tutors, to have a great consultation!
written by Jaclyn H.