a partnership between the Council of Writing Program Administrators (WPA) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

Consortium for the Study of Writing in College (CSWC)


Partnership for the Study of Writing in College

The Partnership for the Study of Writing in College invites you to participate in its projects, which aim to do the following:

  • Create a national portrait of the ways writing is used in four-year colleges and universities in the United States.
  • Explore the relationships between writing and learning.
  • Identify effective teaching strategies that can be used in any college course in order to improve students’ writing abilities.
  • Identify effective teaching strategies for using writing in any college course to enhance students’ mastery of course content and achievement of other important goals of higher education.

A central activity of the Partnership has been creation of 27 questions about writing that can be appended to the National Survey of Student Engagement by institutions that choose to use them. The PSWC has also prepared a parallel set of questions for use with the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement.

As of Spring 2010, the NSSE questions have been used at 151 schools and the FSSE questions at 46 schools, creating a substantial body of data with responses from more than 60,000 students and almost 3,000 faculty.


There are several ways you might benefit from and participate in the Partnership’s activities.

  • Consider the ways you can use our analyses of the national data to support writing initiatives at your college or university.
  • Administer the special writing questions at your own institution. You can do so as part of regular administrations of NSSE and FSSE or, for no cost, you can use them independent of a NSSE or FSSE administration.
  • Suggest research question we could investigate using the national data.
  • Link data from administration of the writing questions at your institution with other data it possesses (e.g., student grades) to investigate topics that can’t be answered by responses to the writing questions alone.
  • Collaborate with researchers at other institutions, for instance by pooling your data to answer questions of special interest to you.

We welcome your ideas, requests, and suggestions.

Paul Anderson 

Chris Anson

Chuck Paine

Bob Gonyea

Learn More

About the Consortium

Frequently Asked Questions

Subscribe to CSWC-L

CSWC Questions about Writing

Spring 2008 administration of experimental questions about writing

Background Information about the Project

WPA Conference 2007

WPA Conference 2008


Chuck Paine, Consortium Coordinator
Bob Gonyea
| Paul Anderson | Chris Anson
Copyright © 2008: WPA / NSSE
Page Updated March 2010