What Significant Problem of Practice did Your Intervention Target?
Problem of Practice Overview
As Katie notes below, our initial Problem of Practice stated, “Students routinely report and demonstrate difficulty integrating the words and ideas of others into their own work. Since academic writing depends on students’ ability to enter an ongoing conversation, this is a significant problem” (2015).
In his essay “What is ‘College-Level’ Writing?” Patrick Sullivan argues that students need to be college-level readers, thinkers, and writers. Each member of Cohort A knew that students often lack the critical and rhetorical reading skills needed to be college and career ready readers, thinkers, and writers. In order that students move through their Bridge-to-College English 12 course in a way that prepares them for college and career level work, it was determined that before students can effective writers, they need to be effective readers. While much of the evidence is anecdotal and personal, the research of such scholars as Rebecca Moore Howard and her examination of plagiarism and patchwriting found that much of these two problems can be traced to an inability to read rhetorically and critically.
Bradley Bleck’s Problem of Practice
Bradley teaches both transfer and developmental writing at SFCC and while he has also found that so-called college-ready students are often ineffective readers, this is particularly true of the developmental level students he works with. SFCC instituted an Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) that co-enrolls developmental students with transfer level students while providing a second class session to provide developmental level students extra support to succeed in the transfer level classes. ALP students are a mix of recent high school graduates, students coming to college after a few years away, and returning adult students, some of whom have been serving in the military.
The challenge was to provide ALP students the reading and writing support needed to be successful in their English 101 course with an emphasis on reading and annotating strategies and practice. The emphasis was on understanding the texts, all of which were above 12th grade reading levels with an intended audience of either high school or college teachers, but generally written in a accessible manner. While each text would never be the sort a student would read of their own volition, they were direct parts of each writing assignment that emphasized an” Introduction to Writing Studies” and “Writing about Writing” curriculum that culminated in students composing a “Theory of Writing” for themselves.
Katie O’Connor’s Problem of Practice
Our initial Problem of Practice stated, “Students routinely report and demonstrate difficulty integrating the words and ideas of others into their own work. Since academic writing depends on students’ ability to enter an ongoing conversation, this is a significant problem” (2015).
We chose that problem as we began our discussion of skills students needed to transfer from senior English to freshman college courses, specifically writing courses, and the workplace. Through continual conversations, we added that, indeed, it was the lack of rhetorical reading strategies that impeded students’ ability to both understand and then integrate words and ideas of others into their own writing. This inability to read rhetorically and transfer their understanding into their own words, we decided, was a major indicator of students who struggled with transitioning from high school to college writing courses.
The evidence we used in our discussions and discoveries were initial samplings of student work where we evaluated skills and deficiencies in all three levels (high school, community college and university) and recorded common issues.
Lesley Hilt’s Problem of Practice
Interestingly enough, the problem we identified was also one we are struggling with at our high school. Our English Department has targeted annotation, critical reading, the ability to identify a claim, and smoothly embedding quotes in essays as areas of concern. We specifically chose both annotation and claim identification as the focus of our department S.M.A.R.T goal. As a department, we are scoring pretests and post-tests, trying out various strategies and sharing all of this to find target practices that increase student’s ability to read complex texts critically.
What Common Core State Standards Relate to this Problem and How?
W.11-12.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection and research.
RL.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
CCRA L 3-5, CCRA R 2-10, CCRA ! 1-3, 6, 9 (May be revised)