NCTE downplays college readiness

In a critique (pdf) of the proposed common-core English Language Arts standards, the National Council of Teachers of English favors self-expression over college (and career) readiness, writes Mark Bauerlein on Education Next. While the core standards project worries about the high college dropout rate, NCTE dismisses “readiness.”

“The standards speak to ‘college and career’ readiness. However, there are important dimensions of education beyond these two domains. Purposes for writing include self-expression; releasing the imagination; creating works of art; developing social networks; engaging in civic discourse; supporting personal and spiritual growth; reflecting on experience; communicating professionally and academically; building relationships with others, including with friends, family, and other like-minded individuals; and engaging in aesthetic experiences. Most important perhaps is education for social and civic participation.

A central purpose of education—and certainly literacy education—has been to create citizens who understand and evaluate complex situations within societies and to influence the democratic process ethically, responsibly, and effectively. Much reading and writing in college centers on the public good, with students frequently asked to produce texts that address various publics, not only other academics.”

College professors aren’t asking for students who can express their feelings or “develop social networks,”  Bauerlien writes. ”Personal and spiritual growth” isn’t a priority.  Professors desperately want “clear sentences and coherent paragraphs.”

They want students to observe rules of grammar and adopt a style adequate to communicating an idea, describing an event, summarizing an argument, or analyzing a thesis.  They want English teachers to improve student grammar and style so that they don’t have to.  They don’t want to fix writing. That’s an exhaustive, labor-intensive activity, and it takes precious minutes away from course content.  They want to impart their subject and assess students’ knowledge of it.  Self-expression, imagination, relationships . . . they’re all wonderful, but they don’t mean a thing if the verbal mechanics aren’t in place.

Students who can write clearly, argue forcefully and analyze a thesis are not barred from using their writing skills to express themselves or advocate for the public good, as they see it.

About Joanne


  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    As the husband of a seriously conscientious foreign language teacher, I can see how much work dealing with papers, tests, quizzes, orals, and notebooks is. Huge.
    It’s a hell of a lot less work deciding if a kid seemed to be telling you about something important to him and not bothering to tie him up with red marks having to do with grammar, structure, and so forth.
    Hell of a lot less work.

  2. NCTE dismisses “readiness.”

    Do they? From the part you quoted, it doesn’t sound that way – more that they want to INCLUDE good purposes for writing in addition to promoting clarity, structure, fluency, etc.

    I have to admit, I wonder about the admissions process when I hear about professors complaining about students who can’t write well. Where are all of the capable students going, and why aren’t they coming to that college?

  3. As Richard says, less work, but also less amenable to objective measurement of any sort.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    That, too. I knew it but forgot to mention it.
    You’re seeing it as a feature, not a bug, right?

  5. This does fit with the changes in course content at Berkeley High, doesn’t it?

    It is probably past time for the NAEP to have questions on grammar and writing style.

  6. Your last sentence hits the nail on the head.

  7. The imagination is bound not by limits placed on expression in classes, but by lack of training in the myriad methods of expression available in the English language. Imagination and thought are tied to the languages we know, so by failing to push a rigorous curriculum that expands students’ understanding of English, the NCTE is actually working against its stated goal.

  8. Independent George says:

    I agree with the larger point, but don’t like the emphasis on college/career readiness. The ability to write and communicate is a fundamental life skill, not something limited to college or a profession.

  9. And they dare to call themselves *teachers* of English.

    Clear, coherent, complete sentences and paragraphs are necessary to full, understandable expression, communication, and social networking (if, that is, one doesn’t wish to be misunderstood). And fundamental life skills are those that work equally well in the college or professional environment, and this particular fundamental life skill is something these kids are NOT learning before they hit my freshman composition classes.

  10. “I have to admit, I wonder about the admissions process when I hear about professors complaining about students who can’t write well. Where are all of the capable students going, and why aren’t they coming to that college?”

    My youngest brother got >700 on the SAT-V and A’s in allegedly college prep English classes at an affluent suburban high school. He was accepted to a “name brand” private university- not quite Ivy caliber but similar to Emory, where Dr. Bauerlein teaches. When he was in his senior year, he asked me for feedback on his honors thesis. I was shocked at how virtually every sentence contained at least one grammatical error and/or awkward phrasing. I had to spend the better part of an evening giving him a crash course in sentence diagramming, something I’d learned in 6th grade but he hadn’t as the “old school” teacher I’d had retired by the time my brother went through. After I’d taught him how to diagram, he thanked me profusely and said he wished that he’d been taught it at 12 rather than 22.

    My brother is a bright kid, but he went through during the “whole language” fad of the 90’s & early 2000’s. He was perfectly capable of learning the grammar, the school just had decided it was no longer a valuable part of the curriculum.

  11. When my kids (mid 20s-mid 30s) were in middle school, only one English teacher taught sentence diagramming. Yes, she was elderly. I don’t know how many others knew how but chose not to teach it, but one (younger) teacher told her class that she’d never done it and didn’t think it was of any use to anyone. It was the kind of area Crimson Wife described and I applied more red pencil to my kids’ written work than all of their k-12 teachers combined. Grammar and composition just isn’t taught. (same goes for geography)

  12. Ah, another teaching bashing post. So, why is it I do this job again? Because marking essays IS exhausting, labor-intensive work for which I am not given time during the regular working day. It is all done on my personal time. Maybe this system doesn’t work so hot, huh? Maybe it shouldn’t be a choice between assigning an essay and spending Sunday afternoon with my family? Ya think?

  13. Scrooge McDuck says:

    The last time my daughter had daily instruction in grammar and punctuation was in fifth grade. This teacher was the only one in the school who insisted on it. She retired the next year. My daughter’s writing improved dramatically. Now in high school we are told the parents should be involved in checking students’ compositions for grammar and spelling.

  14. I do correct errors–as many as I find, and with some of my students, that’s a lot–on initial drafts of essays. I know it’s unfashionable, but I used to be an editor and I just feel like I have to. It is very time-consuming, true, and I can’t do it more than once per round of writing or more than, say, once a month, and it takes about a week to do it.

    If that was ALL I had to do, I could do it all the time. Unfortunately, I also teach reading and social studies and serve on several committees and extracurricular activities. At some point, work has to stop.

  15. With respect LS, I don’t see this thread or post as teacher bashing at all. I hear your frustration and can sympathize, but your (our) excessive workloads don’t have anything to do with the issue at hand, as I see it. Some of the anecdotes here strike me as very supportive of teachers – those who insist on maintaining rigorous standards of grammatical know-how for their students.

    The issue, in my opinion, is the NCTE’s response to the proposed standards. I’ve only had time to skim the document, but I’ve caught on several places already where I’ve cheered and jeered. To be fair, I was once published in the NCTE English Journal, but have since canceled my subscription out of dissatisfaction with what I perceived to be 70% “artistic” projects aimed more at gaining superficial engagement, and 30% research and concrete strategies. As mentioned, that is my perception, and I do keep a binder full of articles I have found to be useful.

    Just to give an example of my cheers and jeers:

    In the section 2.A, the Core Standards’ wording is:

    1.Select and refine a topic or thesis…

    The NCTE proposed change is:
    1.Choose a topic or thesis…

    I mean, really, this is just quibbling over words.

    However, I do like the NCTE’s other proposed word changes – “revise toward, revise toward.” Teachers need to know this, and they need to be able to apply it to classrooms. A piece of literature or a document isn’t finished the moment the pen hits the paper, as too many students believe. I have even had to express this to college students I’ve tutored. I would reject the previous proposed revision, but support the second, because the wording is aimed at reminding teachers what needs to be done.

    As mentioned, I haven’t read the whole thing yet.

    My problem, as a high school teacher, is that I am not often able to actually assess the content of the student’s paper because I am too busy hacking my way through the grammar jungle to try and piece together what they’ve attempted to say. Students who don’t have solid grammatical skills cannot easily express what may well be complex and thought-provoking ideas.

    Our state recently revised its core standards to include some very rigorous standards in grammar, a move which I embrace. However, I have heard two brand new teachers already complain about having to teach grammar (and punctuation) they themselves don’t know, nor value as something they believe their students will need. That’s a whole other issue at my school: “soft bigotry of lowered expectations” is alive and well here. What schools need to do is make sure they have a few old-school grammar warriors on hand not only to teach the new teachers grammar, but also to teach them HOW to teach the grammar. Sad, frustrating, and perhaps outrageous, I know – yet another issue in teacher certification. But these are the folks in our classrooms right now, and these are the folks we can (sometimes) change with skilled mentorship and expectations reinforced by admin.

    So, teacher bashing, not quite. Questioning the NCTE response – worthwhile.

  16. tim-10-ber says:

    Lightly Seasoned — I just came from Vanderbilt where I heard Geoffrey Canada. He said teachers need to be professionals. A professional is one who puts in long hours, does whatever it takes to get the job done and yes, gets compensated for it.

    My question to you –if students needing to learn how to write is a life long skill are you going to do whatever it takes to teach your students how to write well organized essays? Yes, this means grading them completely and including comments?

    So…do you consider yourself a professional or did you just take a low paying job, work to the contract and look forward to the holidays and long summer break?

    So…but with you comment I have to ask the question…

  17. tim-10-ber, did Geoffrey Canada indicate when I might expect a paycheck that reflects my “professional” status?

    Better question: Why is it okay for anyone–teacher, doctor, investment banker, french fry maker–to work, say, 60+ hours a week, 6-7 days a week, very little or no vacation? Where does one’s family, friends, intellect, spirit, and health come into that?

  18. Also, your average classroom teacher didn’t come up with this idea on his or her own. In fact, your average classroom teacher probably feels pretty strongly about making sure children can communicate clearly, effective, and, yes, God forbid, correctly. “Experts,” however, will tell you that too much correction turns children off to writing, that children need to express themselves, that all writing should be graded holistically with a distinct de-emphasis on grammar/mechanics/spelling etc.

    So what your average classroom teacher trying to teach writing is up against is an administration that has (probably) allied itself with those so-called experts, a lack of time to explicitly teach the elements of grammar and mechanics (and, indeed, implicit or explicit discouragement from doing so), and absolutely no appreciation from students or their bosses for taking all that painstaking time to correct mistakes. Why would any sane teacher do it?

  19. LS –

    I don’t see this as teacher-bashing in the least. It’s bashing self-styled experts who recommend stupid things. Y’know, the ones who administrators listen to.

    In fact, I’ll bet quite a few administrators use recommendations like this to defend their decision to deny teachers adequate time to grade work.

  20. redkudu: I would quibble with the first standard. A topic and a thesis are two different things, and it takes me quite a bit of time to move my students toward writing an actual thesis. Middle schoolers write a topic, while students in high school should be selecting and supporting a thesis. I do agree about English Journal. I’ve found some true gems in it, so I do thumb through every issue, but there’s a lot of pure crap in there. I agree with you completely about grammar instruction as well — although some of my best tricks have come out of English Journal, ironically (usually the grammar wars issue).

    tim: honestly, no, you did not have to ask. You should know enough of me from our conversations to have a sense of how I do my job. You do not have to question my professional ethics to discuss this topic.

  21. “However, I have heard two brand new teachers already complain about having to teach grammar (and punctuation) they themselves don’t know, nor value as something they believe their students will need.”

    These newbie teachers are probably around the same age as my youngest brother (he’s 24) and experienced the same kind of “whole language” instruction he did. If anyone is to blame, it’s the ed profs who came up with WL in the first place and promoted it in the teacher certification programs during the ’80’s and ’90’s.

  22. Now in high school we are told the parents should be involved in checking students’ compositions for grammar and spelling.

    Which would make the parents’ lack of English proficiency hereditary, unless they can find tutoring.  I usually find myself on the side of blaming bad culture for the problems a student brings to school, but correcting papers is the SCHOOL’s job; making the students do the papers is the parents’.

  23. Miss Eyre:

    Good posts. Timber would find me contemptible, it seems. I taught and managed seven classes of twelve year olds today (isn’t this alone a major feat???), was able to grade about fifteen poems –in cursory fashion –during my prep, and then stayed after for an hour and twenty minutes answering parent emails, planning tomorrow’s lessons (in cursory fashion), making copies, replacing an ink cartridge, assigning two lunch detentions, conferring with a colleague, etc. But because I haven’t done a deluxe, thorough job of marking up every error in those poems, or added a bunch of bells and whistles to those lessons, I guess I haven’t done enough. I should have skipped my workout this evening, skipped washing lettuce, doing laundry, mopping the kitchen floor, doing 30 minutes of recreational reading, and that cursory conversation with my roommate. I must do WHATEVER it takes.

    Miss Eyre, I think a lot of non-unionized workers are resentful that we have at least a little power to set limits to work in our lives (a power that few of my colleagues seem to exercise). The zeitgeist in this country is workaholism equals virtue. Any expression that you’d like to limit work makes you a lazy, contemptible, disgrace to your profession, and, in some realms, a pariah. This is insane. What, people, is the point of living if it must be breakneck toil from dawn past dusk? The current dark economic climate intensifies this resentment.

    And besides, so much of the work we’re supposed to do is fruitless. I teach sentence diagramming (through the Steps to Good Grammar program, which I really like); I think that’s fruitful. But I’m mandated to have the kids write short stories. I’m not sure that’s the best use of class time, and I’m definitely not sure that meticulously marking them up is a good use of MY time. Do the kids even look at my comments? And if so, do they really learn lessons from reading them? Would it be more fruitful to teach grammar directly and just read a lot of great short stories –helping kids form internal templates of a short story –rather than have them produce fourth-rate fiction? Not sure of the answers; just questions I have.

  24. Lightly Seasoned – I wonder if the key to the issue of time is to revamp teaching writing so more can be done and checked in class.
    Eg, start off with the grammar teaching on the level of individual sentences, and get that drilled in through in-class work, sort of the quivalent of “mad minutes” in maths class, and only later on introduce longer pieces, so when a teacher is marking the longer pieces they can think about things like “is there a thesis statement”, and organisation of the paper, rather than hacking their way through thickets of grammatical mistakes, in the sense of grammar so bad that I sometimes found myself thinking “well should I marked based on what I think you intended to write, or on what you did write?” (I was marking economics papers, not English composition).

    I don’t know how this whole sequence would be put together, it would need field-testing definitely.

  25. tim-10-ber: He said teachers need to be professionals. A professional is one who puts in long hours, does whatever it takes to get the job done and yes, gets compensated for it.

    I don’t see any reason why Lightly Seasoned, or anyone else, should agree with Geoffrey Canada. Personally I don’t think that being a teacher, and/or a professional, should turn you into someone who is morally obliged to work long hours, even for compensation.

    Some professional jobs do oblige certain levels of dedication in terms of hours, eg doctors shouldn’t be walking out on patients on the operating table because the surgery turned out to have complications. And if a teacher takes some young students on a school trip and then their return transport breaks down, I think the teacher is professionally obliged to stay with the students until they’re safely back in the hands of someone else who takes responsibility for them, and similarly if some other disaster prevents kids from getting home normally while at school (eg unexpected heavy snow fall means that parents can’t get in to pick the kids up). But long hours day after day, week after week, year after year? If someone chooses a job that does that, fine with me, but I don’t think that people are obliged to do that sort of work to be a professional.

  26. Tracy: I appreciate your thought process. I do know what I’m doing, believe it or not. I can sometimes do on-the-fly revision suggestions, etc. if I have them composing in class, but there’s just not much corner cutting that can happen with grading — especially at the AP level. I have to read and focus on that paper. And don’t forget — I’m differentiating for every child, so that feedback has to be very specific — heaven help me if I don’t put up the illusion that I spend my whole day on each kid (yes, I just did the IEP from hell).

  27. Richard Aubrey says:

    Ben F.
    The requirement to write short stories is the problem, given what you’ve said.
    At that age, the difference between bad prose and free verse is white space. See Rod McKuen.
    The requirement for kids whose neural connections won’t be entirely connected for another eight years to be creative is, if not insane, a waste of time. They already are as creative as they are going to be at that age. Corraling them is the problem.
    They can learn skills. But I would certainly sympathize with anyone facing the prospect of contradicting the short-story-is-a-hot-idea proponent. You’d look like Scrooge arguing with a bunch of people sappily ooozing wonderfulness about the children.
    In fact, come to think of it, I might even sympathize with an administrator in that position.

  28. Sorry for my grammar error- grammar and composition AREN’T taught.

    I agree that doing real corrections on HS-level papers is a crushing burden if these kids do not have real HS grammar and composition skills. For the average kid, developing those skills takes 8-9 years of real instruction, with appropriate corrections; some can get there in less, some will need more. If lots of kids are arriving in HS without these skills, the ES and MS aren’t doing their job. (yes, the admin, too – they choose curriculum and instructional format, but teachers can’t teach grammar if they don’t know it) Back in the dinosaur era, we started in first grade (no k) with copying simple sentences, moved to writing from the teacher’s dictation and then to composition of sentences and paragraphs. The topics covered not just literature, but science, geography and history. Except for the usual “what I did last summer” caper, I don’t remember much teacher interest in “all about me” or creative writing, except as an extra or occasional free choice option. Another significant factor was/is the constant exposure to good writing, both fiction and non-fiction, which has to start in the teacher-read format. Kids who have experienced only dumbed-down writing – vocabulary and structure – won’t be able to produce anything better. As a veteran HS English teacher told me; good writing begins with good reading. That, too, takes 8-9 years.

  29. I do not recall drafts being part of my education. We were given the writing assignment, either in-class (during which time teachers corrected other papers) or for homework, and we handed in the finished product for grading. Is the whole multiple-draft thing part of the writer’s workshop idea? It seems to me that, if the assignment is appropriate to the child’s knowledge and skill level, he should be able to complete it on his own. Is another consequence of or adaptation to the heterogeneous grouping/full-inclusion model? I’m not being snarky; I’d like to know. I don’t know much about writer’s workshop, but I get the impression from comments here and elsewhere that it has a lot of self-expression and includes drafts.

  30. Richard Aubrey says:

    five hundred words on your summer vacation is probably a good idea.
    The point is to teach writing, not trying to see what flights of fancy a twelve-year-old can manage.

  31. Betty Peters says:

    Re: question by Clix as to where are all the capable students going, I would guess it’s just a case of fewer capable students. At least that’s what I, a state school board member, hear from constituents, including parents, educators, and business leaders. Traditional writing skills, such as standard punctuation, subject-verb agreement, spelling, are needed by ALL students, whether they are headed for further education or straight into the workforce. Employers keep telling me they are interviewing more and more students who have not mastered the basics of math, reading and writing (the old 3-Rs). I hear the same complaints from college instructors and professors. I do not, however, get complaints about lack of creativity or computer skills.

  32. Andrew Bell says:

    1) I would contend that you don’t have to know a thing about diagramming sentences in order to write coherent sentences or paragraphs. You don’t even need to know much formal grammar.

    2) Students don’t read enough good writing. This is the principle reason why they cannot write.

    3) Students don’t write enough. This is the secondary reason why they cannot write.

    4) The time that it takes to provide reasonable feedback on a set of compositions for a class of 20 is incredible. For a class of 30, I can’t even guess. What if you have 5 sections of a writing class — that is 150 students. What is a teacher to do? This is probably why many students don’t do much writing — teachers simply don’t have the time to deal with it. Some amelioration could be provided by having ALL teacher act as writing teachers, whether they teach science, shop, business or something else.

  33. Andrew Bell- I strongly disagree that simply reading good writing is sufficient to teach kids how to write coherently. My brother read quite a bit growing up but obviously did not internalize the grammar & syntax. Those things need to be explicitly taught, ideally in the late elementary & middle school years.

  34. momof4: drafts are where I do my instructing. If a paragraph is a mess, I can teach a kid how to fix it. That’s different from a simple evaluation of this paper is a C because it is a mess — very few students can take that information and transfer it to their next paper; they just see the grade and shove it in their backpack. This is also where instruction becomes highly individualized — 150 different types of feedback for 150 different kids.

    There’s nothing inherently creative about process writing. I don’t do many creative assignments, so most of the process papers are argumentative or descriptive or critical or whatever we’re working on.

    Even though I do teach diagramming, I would agree that it isn’t particularly necessary for good writing. I do think some sort of systemized instruction is critical. Yes, some kids are geniusness who read constantly and can produce decent prose on demand. These kids are rare and what a disservice not to give them the tools to take their writing to the next level. My upper level students can produce highly competent and error-free prose; but we still do sentence pattern exercises and formal grammar to hone those skills and make their style more intentional.

  35. LS’s approach is basically my own; I go crazy on drafts but touch final copies very little. One of the things I grade final drafts on is how well kids adapted my suggestions and at least one peer reviewer’s suggestions into a final draft, so, while they don’t lose any points for using sentence fragments in a rough draft, they do on a final draft if it’s something we talked about fixing in a rough draft conference.

  36. I’m not sure I want all teachers teaching writing, since I’m not sure they would all do it well enough to be a positive influence. Shop and PE teachers; probably not. Math; maybe. Science, business and history; absolutely should. Of course, there are exceptions in all directions. My brother always gave a mechanics grade as well as a content grade on all the history papers he assigned, and on essay tests. Long exposure to good reading/writing sure helps.

  37. My youngest brother got >700 on the SAT-V

    …which apparently does not do such a great job of measuring writing ability. Have universities quit bothering with application essays? Shouldn’t that reveal what students are or are not capable of?

    it’s just a case of fewer capable students.

    I have a hard time with this, as I’ve heard it personally for more than a generation, and there are plenty of stories of complaints about the ignorance and misbehavior of youth since… well, since there’s been a since!

    Students don’t read enough good writing.

    I Agree, With A Caveat… 😉 Much of the literature that’s on the approved list at our school is good writing EVEN THOUGH it steps outside the bounds of the current standards of grammar on a fairly regular basis. That can make it tricky (at best) as a tool for teaching writing.

    IMO, people need to read more in general – the newspaper is a great way to expose students to clear, direct prose, for example.

  38. 1) I would contend that you don’t have to know a thing about diagramming sentences in order to write coherent sentences or paragraphs. You don’t even need to know much formal grammar.

    I really can’t understand the view that learning how and why English works is unnecessary to using English well and consistently.

    Grammar is the codified set of rules and patterns that describes the normal mechanics of a language. Communicative, powerful English need not be entirely grammatical. For example, take the opening narrative to Star Trek:

    “Space… the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

    Not only does it contain a split infinitive, it opens with a sentence fragment. Here is the same recast to be entirely grammatical:

    “Space, it is the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission is to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to go boldly where no man has gone before.”

    Not the same, is it? The sense of wonder is gone. The omissions and sparse rhythm give the quote its character and its power. The phrase “to go boldly” lacks symmetry.

    However, this recasting also shows that the construction was not accidental. Look at the devices used: two verbs implied by pauses, a list without conjunction, and a split infinitive to achieve a more elegant rhythm.

    Communicative, powerful deviations from grammar are rarely uneducated accidents. Usually, they are the work of people who understand grammar and can choose to deviate from normal English for a reason.

    What good reason is there to insist that understanding the grammar of a language is not useful to writing in that language?

  39. Math Teacher says:

    The posters to this thread may be interested in the books by Don and Jenny Killgallon: Sentence Composing for… High School, Middle School & Elementary School (Heinemann). They have a volume for each level, plus additional titles on variations of the theme.

    Students study well-written sentences from literature, breaking them down and attempting to write their own knock-offs.

  40. Being able to write fluent and correct English should be the goal for all high school graduates; whatever their post-secondary plans. Letter-writing used to be a valued habit, and letter collections have been historically valuable, along with diaries. It is a tribute to the education they received that, among relatives from my parents’ generation, letters from relatives who did not go beyond high school were grammatically indistinguishable from those from relatives who had college degrees. Reclaiming that standard should be a high priority.

  41. Clix: I think admissions committees assume students have had a great deal of help with their essays, rendering them a poor reflection of actual writing skills.

  42. “Is [this] another consequence of or adaptation to the heterogeneous grouping/full-inclusion model?”


    I agree with whoever said that sentence diagramming is unnecessary to learning good grammar. I disagree, however, that reading good writing teaches good grammar. For most writers, a few basic punctuation rules are all that’s needed, coupled with a focus on idiom and syntax.

  43. “Have universities quit bothering with application essays? Shouldn’t that reveal what students are or are not capable of?

    I agree with momof4’s assessment. Seeing the final admissions essay after it’s been edited by God only knows how many people does not provide much useful information on how capable the student is at writing. I can’t speak for my brother’s admissions essay, but I had both my parents, my English teacher, my French teacher (who’d previously taught English), the editor at the newspaper where my mom worked, and my guidance counselor all provide feedback on mine.

  44. Quincy, what a brillant comment. Gives a great insight to language use – thanks!

  45. Is it wrong to have someone check your work or offer ideas? If not, then students who do so in order to gain admission ought to be prepared to do so for their assignments. It might be helpful for professors if that application essay could be scanned and kept on file.

    In my classes, I have many students who turn in writing that is peppered with basic sentence errors. Nearly all of them are capable of recognizing those same errors when I say, “Read this sentence out loud to me and tell me what you notice.”

  46. I believe the SAT writing section will remain with us, due to the heavy editing of application essays.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by kriley19, JoanneLeeJacobs. JoanneLeeJacobs said: NCTE wants self-expression, downplays readiness for college writing […]