Blurry Borders of College Writing.pdf - 56 College English...

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56striking array of interest groups has, of late, invested time and energy intodeciding how to increase the degree completion rates for US college students.A brief review of the news dailies of higher education illustrates the exigency ofthe topic.Inside Higher Edreported in March 2010 on the coalition “CompleteCollege America,” an organization with backing from the Lumina Foundation and theBill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose primary purpose is stated as “dramaticallyincreasing the nation’s college completion rate through state policy change” and whoalso focus on building “consensus for change among state leaders, higher education,and the national education policy community” (Lederman). Another high-profilenonprofit organization, Achieving the Dream, cosponsored a report released in Au-gust, 2012, “Where to Begin: The Evolving Role of Placement Exams for StudentsStarting College,” which critiques both standardized placement exams and remedialeducation and endorses some of the strategies that have gained currency in recentyears—mainstreaming students with support, accelerated developmental programs,I cannot get over, however, my sense of the arbitrariness, the surrealism, of the choices repre-sented by the sorting of students in actual basic and mainstream classes. Looking at the faces,working with the writing—the division never makes anything but institutional sense. Thereare cases to prove that the idea is a good one. There are cases to prove that the idea is all wrong.—David Bartholomae, “The Tidy House:Basic Writing in the American Curriculum.”College English, Volume 78, Number 1, September 2015The Blurry Borders of College Writing:Remediation and the Assessment ofStudent ReadinessAHolly Hassel and Joanne Baird GiordanoHolly Hassel, NCTE member since 2001, teaches writing, literature, and women’s studies at theUniversity of Wisconsin-Marathon County.Joanne Baird Giordano, NCTE member since 2006,is the Developmental Reading and Writing Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin Colleges, a state-wide, two-year institution. She teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon and for the Universityof Wisconsin Colleges Online. Their work has been published inTeaching English in the Two-Year College,College Composition and Communication, andOpen Words: English and Access Studies.
The Blurry Borders of College Writing57using multiple measures to place students, or directed self-placement (Burdman).More recently, the 2015 Two-Year College English Association’s “White Paper onDevelopmental Education Reform” (Hassel et al.) outlined state-level legislative ef-forts to minimize remediation, efforts that have gained traction during the Obamapresidency as he has prioritized degree and credential attainment. Florida’s SenateBill 1720 is one example of legislation requiring, for example, that universities pro-vide alternatives to the sixteen-week remediation course model and mandating that

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Term
Winter
Professor
Jennifer Jones

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