...or what we learned from the July 2008 and 2009 Open Institutes in College Readiness in Writing
- A student's personal intention, focus, and desire to be prepared for college are key factors.
- The TAKS Test is over-emphasized, narrowing the curriculum, reducing the amount of critical reading and writing;TAKS writing with its heavy emphasis on narrative is mismatched with college writing.
- The role of parental support and encouragement significantly influences students' academic success and readiness for college.
- Students' readiness is also greatly influenced by the level of information and understanding they have about college and what going to college entails.
- In high school we seem to have it backwards—we place heavy expectations and load on freshmen but then slack off on seniors. It should be reversed. Freshmen should be guided more gently into school work and seniors should have higher expectations placed upon them.
- Greater effort and high expectations may be given to AP, but not toward regular English classes. These regular English classes need more attention.
- Providing a learning environment for our high school students that requires little or no homework does not prepare them for the heavy homework load they will face in college. College readiness suffers when there is a large gap between high school and college expectations and when students are not equiped with the study skills to meet these expectations.
- The Accuplacer has enormous influence on whether a student gets put into developmental classes or not, yet little or no knowledge is known about this test either by students or by teachers in high school. Students are taking the accuplacer cold, with little or no preparation for or knowledge of the test.
- The focus on literature can have a detrimental aefect on writing instruction and their preparedness for the kinds of assignments students will be asked to do in freshmen writing.
- Grammar is important as far as "technical" readiness since nearly all placement tools judge almost exclusively on grammatical knowledge and an algorithmic evaluation of syntactical fluency. College teachers also expect a high degree of grammatical correctness in writing turned in for a grade.
- Students need to be ready to read, analyze and understand extended, difficult texts.
- Readiness is significantly influenced by a student's proficiency with essay writing (that is, a thesis-support piece of writing that develops a line of thinking with clear organization and often integrating the thoughts and words of others).
- Teacher quality