Research in writing studies has focused on students who make the traditional transition from high school to first year composition, to the entry level discipline specific courses in their chosen majors (Wardle, 2007, 2009; Sommers and Saltz, 2004; Beaufort, 2007; Carroll, 2002). Very little scholarship addresses those students who "skip" first year composition and find themselves in entry level discipline specific courses classrooms. With three former students, I conduct a case study over the course of eight months via a series of face to face, facetime, skype and email interviews. Each of these students, through earning high test scores in high school, forego first year composition and move directly to entry level discipline specific courses. Using third generation activity theory as a lens (Engeström, 1996, 1999, 2001; Roth and Lee, 2007; Russell, 1995, 1997; Kain and Wardle, 2002), I examine these students' understanding of what they have experienced in high school writing—specifically high school English class—what they think college writing will demand, and finally what, in fact, they find the college writing demands to be. Not only do I find that each of the students felt very prepared for the demands they will encounter, but they remained confident. The study does, however, illuminate unforeseen challenges for both students and those who teach them: student literate lives are incredibly complex, and there is a real potential for a writing gap between formal writing instruction and when students will engage in intensive discipline writing tasks.
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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)
Bell, Craig, "Consequences of Skipping First Year Composition: Mapping Student Writing from High School to the Academic Disciplines" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 5648.