Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2014

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department

English

Committee Chair

Williams, Bronwyn T.

Committee Member

Journet, Debra

Committee Member

Horner, Bruce

Committee Member

Chandler, Karen

Committee Member

Larson, Ann

Subject

English language--Rhetoric--Study and teaching--United States; High school students--Education (Higher)--United States; Dual enrollment--United States; College credits--United States

Abstract

This dissertation addresses how as dual-credit offerings rise, university writing programs work to respond to the pedagogical, material, and institutional concerns that inform teaching “college-level writing” in this unique space. Recent composition scholarship, such as Christine Farris and Kristine Hansen’s College Credit for Writing in High School: The “Taking Care of” Business, addresses the acceleration of these courses, questioning the extent to which the efficiency of dual credit designates writing as a “commodity easily appropriated, sold, outsourced, and knocked off” (272). My project further studies the implications of accelerated writing courses by interviewing dual-credit students, instructors, and administrators at one sponsoring university and four local high schools in order to examine stakeholders’ conceptions of literacy in a context defined by “college readiness” and financial sponsors of education. Drawing from scholars who study the relationship between literacy, context and institutional power, such as David Barton, Mary Hamilton, and Deborah Brandt, I consider stakeholders’ conceptions of literacy in a site that emphasizes students quickly accumulating college credit, and the assumptions about literacy education which privilege this acceleration. Through data employed from interviews with twenty stakeholders and course and program documents, I argue that dual-credit writing courses highlight the tensions in the role of composition as a field because of the pressure to define a certain kind of “college-level writing” in order to prepare students for careers. Specifically, this project demonstrates how stakeholders’ conceptions of “college ready” moved the conversation on literacy education from being about a finite set of skills to perceptions of socioeconomic and educational identity of students and schools. A close look at the level of commitment to “college readiness” at this institutional setting emphasizes that acceleration also connects to financial sponsorship because stakeholders discussed how dual credit serves as a financial deal for both the students because they receive one-third the tuition rate and for the university because mostly secondary educators and part-time lecturers teach the course. Therefore, I argue for more awareness of how these institutional pressures inform literacy not only in dual-credit classrooms, but writing instruction at the university overall.

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