Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

English

First Advisor

Brock Dethier

Abstract

The writing culture in elementary schools and secondary schools needs to change if students are going to be equipped for their future academic and career goals. An ideal writing culture promotes advanced writing by encouraging more writing, sharing, and a sense that everyone in the classroom is a developing writer. The writing students produce shows that this type of writing culture is not being nurtured in many secondary schools. It is apparent that the ideal writing culture in secondary schools is not being achieved because of the writing students produce. Arthur Applebee and Judith Langer, in connection with the National Writing Project, the College Board, and the Center on English Learning & Achievement, analyzed the writing production in secondary language arts classrooms across the nation. They found that in 1998 “40% of 12th grade students reported never or hardly ever writing papers of 3 pages or more for their English language arts classes, and 14 percent were not writing papers of even 1 to 2 pages” (Writing Instruction in America’s Schools 11). This statistic includes personal narratives, reflections, responses to literature, and any formal writing that students can recall. In 2009, these authors published similar findings that papers longer than three pages are rare while also suggesting that “Data over time also suggest that there has been some increase in emphasis on writing and the teaching of writing, both in English language arts classrooms and across the curriculum, although this may have begun to decline from its high” (“What Is Happening in the Teaching of Writing?” 26). The increase in emphasis produced the following statistic: In 2007, between 80% and 90% of middle school and high school students had achieved what NAEP identifies as ‘basic’ writing skills appropriate to their grade level, but only 31% at Grade 8 and 23% at Grade 12 were rated as ‘proficient.’ (Applebee, “What Is Happening in the Teaching of Writing?” 19)

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on November 5, 2012.

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