At the high school level, teachers are tasked with a twofold agenda: they must prepare their students for college level and other post-secondary writing, and they must also make sure they perform well on the standardized writing tests that are required by the state. The stakes in standardized testing continue to rise, especially in Florida. Since the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002 (NCLB) and the implementation of the Race to the Top Assessment Program (RTTT) in 2009, teachers across the nation have experienced intense pressures related to standardized testing. Many schools' efforts to conform to testing requirements have had the unintended consequence of narrowing their focus to the content of the test. As teachers and administrators experience the pressure to meet the requirements, it has become impossible to implement any pedagogy without test results in mind. The challenge facing high school writing teachers is formidable: how can they best choose their new approach to pedagogy, given the pressures of standardized testing, the new curriculum requirements, and the need to ensure that they equip students with the skills they will need to write in college? This thesis explores the question by analyzing the key factors that impact writing instruction in Florida high school classrooms: testing requirements, curriculum requirements, and the content of writing textbooks being used. Do these factors encourage teachers to follow the best practices in writing instruction recommended by field-based research? What knowledge can we gain from comparing these factors, which may be helpful to today's writing instructors in light of the challenges they face? Through this research and analysis, I hope to provide insight that can inform high school writing teachers on the heart of the issue: is it possible for best practices in writing instruction and standardized testing to coexist in their classrooms?
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Writing and Rhetoric
English; Rhetoric and Composition
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Cannavino, Karen, "Can Best Practices in Writing Instruction and Standardized Testing Coexist?" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4953.