Underpinning all analyses is the theoretical framing grounded in “knowledge transfer” research, a growing field within Writing Studies. This research suggests that writing knowledge gained in one context is not necessarily re-used, adapted, or transformed in another, unless certain ways of teaching and learning are in place. Our projects all seek to better understand how students’ writing knowledge evolves and how this is apparent in their learning, so that we can then select the best teaching strategies and create the best learning contexts.
The work described here has developed over the past four years. Next steps will include re-studying student work after curricular changes to determine how well students are doing, and coordinating the results of these different initiatives into one coherent picture. That will help us to identify gaps in our understanding of students’ learning in and beyond the first year. We see the work to date as a piece in the broader move towards a systematic institution-wide assessment approach for students’ writing knowledge.