Indicators of Achievement

Student Learning Outcomes for the English Major

  1. Engaged imagination and engagement in the imaginative process
    • Asks an inventive question and offers an original claim
    • Extends and complements current critical conversation in genuine and creative ways
    • Offers insights that provoke real interest and curiosity in the reader
  2. Careful reading of texts
    • Demonstrates close reading—attends to the details of the text, to its particular uses of language, to form and structure, manipulation of tone
    • Attends to complexities in the text—recognizes ambiguity, contradiction, ruptures, fissures
    • Attends to nuances in the text—recognizes cogency, coherence, and consistency, as well as ambiguity, contradiction, and inconsistency
    • Conscientiously avoids inappropriate manipulation of the text (e.g., gross misinterpretation or over-reading)
  3. Ability to engage with varied critical perspectives
    • Articulates a theory that authorizes the arguments the paper makes to support its claim
    • Recognizes and responds to scholarly critical conversation about the text
    • Contextualizes references to specific critics, theorists, and scholars (e.g., identifying their critical approach and larger argument about the text in question)
    • Enters scholarly, critical conversation (rather than simply quoting to back up writer's own point)
  4. Critical acumen
    • Identifies significant and relevant evidence in the text to advance the paper's claims and arguments
    • Anticipates and responds to likely challenges and alternative argumentative approaches
    • Uses text and theoretical material shrewdly and with deliberation
    • Displays sound logic and good judgment in argument's execution
  5. Reasoned argument
    • Offers appropriate textual evidence in support of claims; explains use and validity of evidence
    • Develops and extends arguments, rather than simply amassing evidence to make a single point
    • Organizes sequence of and relationship between arguments effectively
    • Arrives at a plausible, non-obvious, non-trivial conclusion
  6. Clear prose
    • Establishes an appropriate scholarly voice, tone, and authority
    • Paragraphs effectively and provides transitions between and within paragraphs
    • Varies sentence structure and length appropriately
    • Observes conventions of standard American edited prose in grammar, punctuation, usage, mechanics
Willamette University


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Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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