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Gordon Rule

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A Brief History of the Gordon Rule at Miami Dade College (Part 3 of 3)

Gordon Rule History wordicon

  1. The Original Gordon Rule
  2. The Newly-Revised Gordon Rule
  3. Miami Dade College's Response: Process and Recommendations

Miami Dade College’s Response: Process and Recommendations

In the late summer of 2006, a Task Force, appointed by the Provost for Academic and Student Affairs and composed of faculty, staff, and administrators, convened for the purposes of establishing Miami Dade College’s Gordon Rule writing and course requirements. The Gordon Rule Task Force’s (GRTF) goal was to define the criteria for “multiple college-level writing assignments” and to draft a writing rubric, guidelines, and an assessment process. What followed were several months of intense faculty-centered dialogue and deliberation. Ultimately, the GRTF’s recommendations were approved by the Miami Dade College (MDC) College Academic and Student Support Council (CASSC) in December 2006.

On the one hand, these recommendations define what constitutes “college-level writing” as well as prescribe the number of assignments and the appropriate formats to be used:

  1. At least 3 (three) “college-level writing assignments” per course
  2. “College-level writing assignments” be defined as having the following descriptors:
    1. A clearly defined central idea or thesis
    2. An adequate support for that idea
    3. Clear, logical organization
    4. Usage of the conventions of standard edited American English
    5. A format appropriate to the assignment
  3. “Assignments” that provide evidence of college-level writing may include, but are not limited to the following:
    1. Essays
    2. Project plans
    3. Written examinations
    4. Interviews
    5. Case studies
    6. Evaluated drafts
    7. Process papers
    8. Lab reports
    9. Research papers
    10. Reviews
    11. Feasibility studies
    12. Discussion question responses
    13. Reports
    14. Business plans
    15. Portfolios
    16. Journals
    17. Manuals
  4. “Assignments” that do not provide evidence of college-level writing include the following:
    1. Resumes
    2. Creative Writing
    3. E-mails (short/informal)
    4. Annotations
    5. Free writing exercises
    6. PowerPoint presentations
    7. Brainstorming
    8. One-minute (very short) papers

The GRTF also recommended assessment procedures for the implementation of the aforementioned criteria. These recommendations were revisited after the GRTF completed its mandate in December 2006, and the Provost established the Gordon Rule Writing Committee (GRWC), composed of key academic and student affairs administrators and faculty from Gordon Rule Writing disciplines. This committee’s purpose is an ongoing one: to work with cross-college discipline committees to strengthen and assess the Gordon Rule Writing courses and to refine and, as necessary to adapt the criteria to reflect the forms of college-level writing appropriate to the disciplines offering Gordon Rule Writing courses. Similarly, the discipline committees, in conjunction with the Gordon Rule Writing Committee, may refine for the respective disciplines the types of assignments as well as the rubrics to be used in assessing them.

After further discussion and consensus building, the GRWC has modified the original assessment recommendations to include the following:

  1. The Gordon Rule Writing Committee will work with the discipline committees to assure that the State-mandated Gordon Rule Writing requirements are met and that the MDC guidelines are followed.
  2. Faculty teaching Gordon Rule writing courses will include in their syllabi appropriate writing assignments that fully demonstrate students’ college-level writing skills.
  3. Faculty teaching Gordon Rule writing courses will use the Miami Dade College writing rubric or a discipline-specific rubric developed in conjunction with the Gordon Rule Writing Committee to evaluate students’ writing skills.
    1. Discipline-specific rubrics will be prepared by the discipline committee, will be reviewed by the Gordon Rule Writing Committee, and will be uniformly applied as an assessment instrument in all Gordon Rule courses in that discipline.
    2. Faculty will share the MDC or discipline-specific rubric with students.
  4. The Gordon Rule Writing Committee, in concert with Institutional Research and the discipline conveners, will develop an assessment process and will prepare a Gordon Rule Writing Institutional Effectiveness report.
  5. Based upon the assessment process and definition provided by the discipline committee, faculty teaching Gordon Rule Writing courses in that discipline will award a course grade that takes into account student proficiency in college-level writing. During the implementation period, a course grade of “C” or higher will be awarded only if students have demonstrated college-level writing skills as measured by the MDC or discipline-specific writing rubric in addition to the course grade requirements established for the course. The course syllabus will clearly state that a course grade of “C” or higher will be awarded only if students have demonstrated college-level writing skills.


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