How I Got Ovah: Success Stories of African American Composition Students, Part II.Reportar como inadecuado

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This study explored how some African American students dramatically improved their control of Edited American English (EAE) in their introductory composition course at Howard University. The participants included 40 students who were enrolled in ENGL 002 in 1998, 1999, or 2000, as well as the 10 teachers who had recommended the students as "most improved." A pretest-posttest comparison and portfolio assessment isolated two distinct groups of students within this sample: 18 "successful" students who had achieved consistent progress and 22 "struggling" students whose performance had proved inconsistent. To determine why the Successful Group had progressed more than the Struggling Group, the research team addressed the following questions: How did the teachers strengthen the students' command of EAE? What successful strategies did the students employ on their own? What roles did other people and resources play in the students' progress? What role did the students' and teachers' language attitudes play? With these questions in mind, the team conducted discourse-based interviews with the students and their teachers, classified errors in the portfolios, and coded the interview data. The data analysis revealed that both groups of students attributed most of their progress to their teachers' written comments rather than readings, lessons, writing assignments, conferences, peer review, or independent work. However, there were significant differences in (1) the groups' awareness of their writing problems; (2) their evaluation of their independent study; (3) their sources of motivation; (4) their choice of partners for collaboration; and (5) their attitudes toward Standard English. Surprisingly, language attitudes played the most statistically significant role in the study. Nearly all of the members of the Successful Group portrayed Standard English, especially EAE, as a "universal" language that allows Americans to understand one another. On the other hand, the Struggling Group was more likely to regard Standard English merely as a school or job requirement rather than a "lingua franca" to facilitate communication. Notably, the only students who considered Standard English "White" belonged to the Struggling Group. The study contains 20 references. Appendixes contain the research questions, 7 tables of data, and brief descriptions of 7 additional significant findings. (RS)

Descriptors: Black Students, Freshman Composition, Higher Education, Language Attitudes, Portfolio Assessment, Standard Spoken Usage, Student Attitudes, Teacher Response, Teacher Role, Writing Improvement

Autor: Redd, Teresa M.


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