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ERIC Number: ED211971
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Interpreting Diagnostic Essays: Basic Writer or Composition Student?
In most colleges and universities, the task of assigning students to basic or remedial writing courses is handled the same way--students are tested during a summer orientation program by a combination objective and essay examination or during the first few days of the term by a composition instructor. Whereas the intentions of the testing are good, the way these tests are interpreted sometimes results in placing students who do not have basic writing problems in basic writing classes. Perhaps the clearest way to identify basic writing students and their errors is to begin by examining the kinds of writing problems and skills that introductory composition teachers should accept as theirs to confront, such as compositional weaknesses, syntax and diction problems, or spelling errors. The students who can be helped by the basic writing class are those who cannot conform to the grammatical and mechanical conventions of standard English, who do not recognize sentence boundaries, or whose vocabulary is so limited and whose vocabulary skills are so weak that they cannot communicate an idea. Educators responsible for writing programs should both examine the differences in ability between the strongest and the weakest beginning writing students at their own institutions and use these differences to determine the criteria that indicate what is taught in a basic writing course and what is taught in composition classes. (HOD)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (32nd, Dallas, TX, March 26-28, 1981).