Asbury English majors land in top percent of test takers

Published 10:53 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

Over the past 10 years, graduating Asbury English majors consistently placed in or near the top 10 percent of test-takers on the ETS Major Field Test for Literature in English.

This year’s graduating seniors raised the bar to an all-time high by scoring at the 98th percentile.

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The two-hour exam is computer-based and compares them to thousands of other students at colleges and universities across the country.

In addition to finishing in the top 2 percent of all those who took the test, this year’s cohort of highly-talented graduates are putting their well-developed writing and analytical skills to good use next year in graduate schools in the fields of business, teaching, nonprofit organizations and publishing.

English department Chairman Chuck Gobin said the test scores demonstrate the program’s emphasis on a robust, classical curriculum as well as the commitment of the students within the program.

“We are blessed with majors who love to read widely and to think deeply,” Gobin said.

Assistant professor Erin Penner said she believes the personal investment of her colleagues is another factor behind Asbury English majors’ noteworthy achievements this year.

“Our students have found a home in our department, often stopping in to visit several of us over the course of an afternoon,” Penner said. “Here, they’ve learned to see more in the reading and their own writing than they did at first and to push themselves for more.”

In this year’s exit survey, graduating seniors were asked to name some of the strengths of Asbury’s English department. Among the many strengths listed were “professors who love literature relentlessly and call out that same love in us,” and “courses with readings and paper assignments that challenge us to think more broadly and teach us to argue effectively.”

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