FAQs About Professional Communications

The Performance Assessment submission process for all IT Graduate and all Business Graduate students no longer uses Taskstream as the primary location to submit performance assessments. IT and Business Graduate students will submit performance assessments in their course. Please click here for additional information on that submission process.

 

What is Professional Communications (Articulation)?

Professional Communications (Articulation) is the ability to communicate information credibly, and it is an expectation all employers have for college graduates. To ensure WGU graduates possess this ability, scoring rubrics contain an aspect labeled “Professional Communications” or “Articulation of Response.” Evaluators use this aspect to measure the communications skill demonstrated when a student presents the information required in each performance assessment.

 

The FAQ’s below address student questions about how WGU student submissions are evaluated for professional communications.

 

How are submissions evaluated for Professional Communications?
What does Professional Communications Measure?
Why is a Professional Communications aspect referred to a separate team of evaluators?
How is the Professional Communications score determined?
Is my program mentor notified of Professional Communications revisions?
If my submission is being reviewed by the Professional Communications team, when will it be returned...
How do markup documents identify writing concerns?
What do I do if my submission needs Professional Communications revisions?

 

How are submissions evaluated for Professional Communications?

The Professional Communications (Articulation) aspect is assessed based on five core-writing competencies:


1. Organization: Organization refers to the internal structure of a piece of writing, the thread of central meaning, the pattern and sequence, so long as it fits the central idea. Organizational structure can be based on comparison-contrast, deductive logic, point-by-point analysis, development of a central theme, chronological history of an event, or several other identifiable patterns, based on the intent of the desired product. The organization should reflect the assessment’s purpose and requirements.


2. Word Choice: Word choice refers to the vocabulary a writer chooses to convey meaning. Proper word choice is the use of precise language to communicate ideas in an understandable way. It is not the wielding of an impressive vocabulary that is important, but rather the ability to skillfully use everyday words in conjunction with relevant content terminology to clearly convey a message.


3. Sentence Fluency: Sentence fluency refers to the rhythm and flow of the language. Meaning, the writing is free of awkward word patterns that slow the reader's progress. Sentences vary in length, beginnings, structure, and style. A reader can move through the piece with ease and readily detect evidence of competencies in the assessment.


4. Conventions: Conventions refers to the elements of spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar. "Writing that is strong in conventions has been proofread and edited with care" (Education Northwestern, 2009).


5. Parts of Speech: Parts of speech refers to assigning words to agree with their syntactic functions. In English, the main parts of speech are noun, pronoun, adjective, determiner, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection. Good writing incorporates parts of speech appropriately in its sentences.

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What does Professional Communications Measure?

The Professional Communications requirement measures the writing skill with which a student presents the information required in each performance assessment. Professional Communications is evaluated in every submission at WGU and is sometimes referred to as "Articulation of Response" or "Mechanics" in the rubric aspects.

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Why is a professional communications aspect referred to a separate team of evaluation faculty?

The Evaluation department consists of two types of evaluation faculty: those evaluators who score the college-specific content of a submission, and the evaluators who score the writing; the Professional Communications team. A content evaluator makes a referral to the Professional Communications team when writing concerns may be present within a submission. A second review of submissions that meet this criterion is necessary to determine whether the writing competency standards are met or whether writing revisions are necessary. This practice has always been part of WGU’s evaluation process to ensure the evaluation of student submissions is accurate, fair, and efficient.

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How is the professional communications score determined?

A Professional Communications evaluator reviews the referred submission and determines based on the five core-writing competencies of Organization, Sentence Fluency, Word Choice, Conventions and Parts of Speech whether the Professional Communication (Articulation) requirement is competent or whether revisions are necessary. Professional Communications evaluators identify benchmarks of competency (not perfection) in student writing and determine whether a clear pattern of clarity-limiting writing concerns is present within the submission. Higher writing competency standards are expected in the graduate level courses.


To help target specific areas for writing improvement, the Professional Communications team will provide additional feedback when a submission does not demonstrate writing competency standards. The purpose of this evaluation is to assist WGU students in communicating clearly and professionally not only in academia but also in the workplace. Higher writing competency standards are expected in the graduate level courses.


Note: A submission can pass all of the college-specific content requirements and still need revision in the Professional Communications (Articulation) aspect.

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Is my program mentor notified of Professional Communications revisions?

If the submission is in need of Professional Communications (Articulation) revisions, the student is encouraged to contact the WGU Writing Center to receive writing assistance. Program mentors will receive an email from the Professional Communications team if the same performance assessment is in need of writing revisions more than one time. This email will notify mentors of the writing revisions needed and suggest they assist the student in making an appointment to work with the WGU Writing Center.

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If my submission is being reviewed by the Professional Communications team, when will it be returned?

The Professional Communications team strives to evaluate and return submissions to students within the 72-hour scoring window (including weekends). Please contact Assessment Services if an evaluation exceeds this timeframe. There are numerous factors within the evaluation process, which may delay a submission for a longer period. However, the Professional Communications team will not hold a submission any longer than is necessary to complete a proper evaluation.

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How do markup documents identify writing concerns?

Professional Communications evaluators provide specific, constructive comments directly within student submissions. The intent of this feedback model is to assist students and mentors in identifying the pattern of errors present within a submission and make the revision process more straightforward.

Uploaded within the evaluation, a marked-up version of the student’s submission is included. This document will be a copy of the student’s submission, with Professional Communications (Articulation) comments and links to the Guide to Academic Writing, to help guide students through the revision process. Students and mentors will access the marked-up document through Taskstream or their course as an attached file located in the Evaluation Summary section of the completed evaluation. Provided below is an example of a marked-up student submission, a screenshot of the location of the student’s submission file to be downloaded, as well as the overall comments left by the Professional Communications evaluator.


Example of the markup document file attachment and overall comments:

profcom1.png

 

Example of the mark-up comments and the Guide to Academic Writing links provided by the Professional Communications team:
profcom2.jpg

 

Using the markup document effectively when revising the submission:

The Professional Communication (Articulation) review is not meant to be a comprehensive review of every error within the submission, but it is intended to point out specific recurring challenges the student is facing throughout the work. The feedback provided in the Professional Communication (Articulation) aspect will summarize the comments/markups made within the submission and advise the student to review the markup document for further detail. The feedback provided in the Professional Communications (Articulation) aspect will summarize the comments/markups made within the submission and advise the student to review the markup document for further detail.


The note below details information about the markup document. This note will be included at the top of student submissions to enable them to use this document more effectively in the revision process.

profcom3.png

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What do I do if my submission needs Professional Communications revisions?

WGU recommends, and highly encourages that students schedule an appointment with a Writing Center instructor to improve their writing skills before resubmitting their work. Students are encouraged to schedule live appointments (rather than video appointments) with the WGU Writing Center to ensure they understand the writing concepts the Writing Center instructor is providing. In addition, live appointments give students the ability to ask questions throughout the session. To assist them further, they may engage in the learning resource, The Guide to Academic Writing.

 

Links to these two resources are included below:


Writing Center Website: Access the WGU Writing Center in the student portal on the Student Success tab or at the following link WGU Writing Center.
The Guide to Academic Writing: The Guide to Academic Writing is our new learning resource where you can find information on any part of the writing process, including APA and Professional Communications (Articulation).

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