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Making the Transition from High School to College-Level Writing
NCTE INBOX 3-19-13

A recent Teaching English in the Two-Year College Forum, "Bridging the Gap between High School and College Writing," offered a rationale for, a history of, and some guidelines for creating a dialogue between high school teachers of writing and college instructors of writing. How can we prepare our students for writing in college? These resources from NCTE offer some ideas.

The Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing, based in current research on writing and writing pedagogy, describes the rhetorical and 21st century skills as well as habits of mind and experiences that are critical for college success.

Listen to a conversation with Cathy Fleischer and Kent Williamson on Education Talk Radio about the habits of mind essential for student success in college writing. The ability to reflect on one's own thinking as well as on the individual and cultural processes used to structure knowledge is critical for today's students.

In the NCTE book Designing Writing Assignments, Traci Gardner offers practical ways for teachers to develop assignments that will allow students to express their creativity and grow as writers and thinkers while still addressing the many demands of resource-stretched classrooms. Take a look at the sample chapter, "Defining New Tasks for Standard Writing Activities."

Writing at the Threshold: Featuring 56 Ways to Prepare High School and College Students to Think and Write at the College Level (S-C) offers both an eloquent philosophy of composition instruction and an immediately useful set of classroom-tested teaching ideas distilled from the author's 28 years of teaching writing. The author offers a set of five course sequences, each proposing a markedly different way to shape a whole writing course using methods discussed in the book. Learn more in the sample chapter.

Lesson Plans for Teaching Writing, grouped around popular categories such as Writing Process, Portfolios, and Writing on Demand, will help prepare high school and college students for college-level writing. The sample chapter shares the lesson on growing paragraphs into essays.

College Credit for Writing in High School: The "Taking Care of" Business explores various options that students have for "taking care of" the first-year college writing requirement, including AP tests, concurrent enrollment/dual-credit courses, the International Baccalaureate diploma, and early college high schools.

The College-Level Writing: What to Expect handout features three kinds of writing (which are often overlapping): Writing to Learn, Writing to Display, and Learning to Write. From the Eastern Michigan Writing Project, the handout accompanies the English Journal article "Inviting Parents In: Expanding Our Community Base to Support Writing."

In his Teaching English in the Two-Year College article, Patrick Sullivan poses the question, "Is it possible to define what we mean by 'college-level' writing?" He goes on to explain that "being able to distinguish and articulate clearly the differences between college-level work and precollege work has become a vitally important skill on our campuses." Read more in his article "What Is 'College-Level' Writing?" (C).

Learn more with NCTE's What Is "College-Level" Writing? Volume 2: Assignments, Readings, and Student Writing Samples, the sequel to What Is "College-Level" Writing? (2006), and the companion website for practical aspects of teaching writing: assignments, readings, and plenty of examples of real student writing.

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