April 20, 2018
UCI Student Center Woods Cove
Presenter: Rachel Stumpf
Title: Smooth Sailing or Rough Waters? How Students Navigate College Writing
In the hallways of colleges across America, there's a statement that's been uttered countless times: "These students can't write." Concerns about students' ability to write well at the college-level have existed for decades. These concerns aren't unfounded, considering that 11% to 28% of college students are required to take a remedial writing class. So why does college writing present challenges for some students? Initiatives such as the Common Core State Standards largely attribute the issue to a lack of rigor at the high school level. But is this the only reason? In order to better understand what makes college writing challenging (or not) for students, we need research that brings in another perspective. My research contributes this perspective through an analysis of twelve students' writing beliefs and practices as they completed their last year of high school and entered their first year of college. Results from this work suggest that students' writing trajectories took different forms depending on their major, the college they attended, and other factors. Understanding this variation can help us improve writing instruction and ensure that college students can write.