Preparing Students for College-level Writing
With this funding I intend to collaborate with a high school English teacher (Eric Dykes) in his Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) classes at Westminster High School (WHS) which are designed to help students in the middle prepare for and succeed in colleges and universities. At Westminster High School, this program supports students who are underrepresented at 4 year universities. Many of these students come from low socio-economic backgrounds and would be the first in their family to attend college. In past years, WHS has had a 90% four-year college going rate and most of attend college free of charge due to financial need.
Many of Eric’s college-bound students who were previously being admitted to the CSU system are now being denied admission due to more rigorous entrance requirements for entering first year students. This is especially true for students applying to CSU campuses outside of the students’ immediate service area. In addition, many of those who are admitted are part of the roughly 50% of incoming first-year college students across the state who need to take remedial English courses.
The Early Assessment Program (EAP) data for Westminster High School helps to highlight the need for this project. In 2010, EAP data revealed that only 23% of students were deemed ready for college-level English courses. This means that 77% of all students tested were not yet ready for college level courses in English. This statistic points to the large numbers of WHS seniors who are admitted to the CSU but must take non-credit bearing remedial coursework before they can take credit bearing courses. This costs them money while delaying their goal of graduating with a degree.
Writing has been identified as a primary area of need for these students. Many have high GPA’s, but they still struggle with the demands of academic writing. My objective is to work with these students and prepare them for college-level writing.
What is lacking in my current professional experience is a direct connection with high school students. I have not worked with high school students for several years now. I would like to use this opportunity to invigorate my teaching by working directly with high need students. This will enhance my credibility with my university students while also allowing me to test some of the theory and practice that I share in my courses and through my professional development work.