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ERIC Number: ED377477
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Dissin' the Dialectic on Discourse Surface Differences.
Chapman, Iris Thompson
Composition Chronicle, v7 n7 p4-7 Nov 1994
Statistics from several southern states show that African American high school students fail their regents writing exams at a considerably higher rate than do white students. A study evaluated failing regents essays written by African American high school students in several states to determine what the source of their failure was. Results showed that black English vernacular accounted for only 15% of the surface errors. Scorers of the exams most commonly cited the essays' failure to provide adequate support for their arguments. They found the essays either illogical, insufficient, unfocused, unclear or repetitious. Therefore, writing teachers have to entertain the notion that development is a co-conspirator or co-operant in the failure. What can be done to improve the performance of African-American students? The answer is not more drilling of mechanics but some attempt to help them develop a voice in writing. Having been tracked into less demanding classes, they are simply not writing enough. Peter Elbow defines voice as what most people have in their speech but lack in their writing; it brings life to writing; it has the texture and sound of "you." For African-Americans students, finding voice in "talk" or orality has never been a problem. Excerpts from a student's paper show that a real voice resides there. (Two tables of data are included.) (TB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A