Assessment for Concentration in Literary Studies
As a Wilson College English major, you are required to assemble a writing portfolio. Its contents will address four general goals and thirteen sub-goals (see below). In all, students majoring in the literary studies concentration will be
Persuasive Expository Writers
Papers which meet this goal will show the student writer's awareness of
- Purpose in writing
- Use of supporting details
Familiar with the Literary Traditions of Britain, Europe, and the U.S.
Papers which meet this goal will show the student writer's knowledge of
- A literary school, movement, period, genre, or major author
- The debate over the literary canon
Skillful Interpreters of Literature
Papers which meet this goal will show the student writer's ability to
- Read literature closely and discuss narration, literary devices, or poetics
- Use evidence from the history of literature
- Situate literature in its socio-historical context
Effective Synthesizers of Ideas
Papers which meet this goal will show that the student writer can
- Compare and contrast themes across works of literature
- Apply theories of literature (e.g., feminism, historicism, psychoanalysis) to texts
- Use research to enter scholarly dialogue
Compiling the Student Portfolio
The first document in each English major's portfolio will be a lengthy essay (typically15-20 pages) that lists what is in the portfolio, names the course for which each item was produced, and explains the relevance of individual items to specific departmental goals. These materials may be written papers and, less frequently, essay exams. For example, a paper written for ENG 108 College Writing would be expected to show a mastery of purpose, audience, role, tone, and supporting details—the sub-goals of the "persuasive expository writer" criterion. Similarly, a paper for an upper-division course might demonstrate your knowledge of "the literary traditions of Britain, Europe, and the U.S" as well as your ability to interpret literature. Papers produced for upper-division courses in other departments may be applied to these general criteria as well, so long as you provide a specific context for their inclusion. As a whole, the introductory essay will be a reasoned argument that treats the portfolio's materials as evidence of your development as a student.
Students will develop their portfolios during their senior year by enrolling in ENG 400 Assessment Portfolio, a one-half credit course required for graduation. Questions about portfolios should be directed to Professor Larry Shillock.