Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

English Rhetoric and Composition, PhD

Committee Chair

Williams, Bronwyn

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Sheridan, Mary P.

Committee Member

Sheridan, Mary P.

Committee Member

Ryan, Susan

Committee Member

Glenn, Cheryl

Author's Keywords

literacy; assessment; policy; readiness; composition; translation


This dissertation traces the economy of documents representing literacy for college readiness through an analysis of the interplay of literacy theory, literacy policy, and policy documentation. Specifically, this dissertation examines how college-level literacy is defined in Kentucky through a network of related documents. With Latour’s Actor-Network Theory serving as a theoretical frame, this dissertation tracks not only the vast and interconnected system of compositions operating as articulations of college-level literacy but also the presence (or absence) of rhetoric and composition’s compositions within the network of relations defining literacy for college readiness. This dissertation is divided into five chapters. Chapter One outlines the historical foundations, research methodologies, and theoretical framework for the project. Chapter Two contextualizes literacy for college readiness in the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) and corresponding implementation of an assessment and accountability structure, including the adoption of the writing assessment portfolio. This chapter includes the translation of legislation into Transformations, Kentucky’s expansive curriculum framework. Chapter Three analyzes the introduction of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) into the network of relations tracking literacy for college readiness. This chapter details the translation of national literacy policy for accountability into Kentucky’s state assessment and accountability structure with the implementation of the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS). Chapter Four examines the durability of the Common Core State Standards (Common Core) in the network of relations as national literacy standards, purportedly operating as universals, are translated into state systems of assessment and accountability. Chapter Five considers the implications of this project’s research outcomes for rhetoric and composition scholarship in terms of sources of authority and locations of participation in defining literacy for college readiness.