ERIC Number: ED461394
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-May
If a Tree Falls in the Forest...Listening for My Students' Voices: A Qualitative Study of "Underprepared" College Freshmen.
Berg, Christine G.
This study offers a broad view of community college students who enter college underprepared for the rigors of credit-bearing coursework. The dissertation employed Lawrence-Lightfoot and Davis' theories and practices of portraiture as a mode of qualitative inquiry. The study examined the lives of four reading and writing students who placed into the Basic Education Program. The researcher conducted the investigation over a period of more than 18 months, discussing home, school, work, and social lives with the students and interviewing family members, friends, co-workers, teachers, and others. Along with the interviews, artifacts were collected, particularly the students' writing. Each of the students, as members of a reading workshop, wrote 14 different letters about the reading, conversing, and reflecting they did throughout the term. The dissertation concludes that issues that bear examining include deficiencies in academic setting, environmental distractions, and home cultures unfamiliar with the culture of academia. The paper cites McLaren, who observes that students tend to be most valued in school if their "cultural capital" is similar to that of the academy's powerbrokers. The study also argues that students are sorted, ranked, and classified beginning in elementary school, thus setting the stage early to limit access to higher education. (NB)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Basic Writing, Case Studies, College Freshmen, Community Colleges, Cultural Context, Early Intervention, High Risk Students, Interviews, Potential Dropouts, Qualitative Research, Reading Difficulties, Remedial Reading, Social Environment, Special Needs Students, Two Year Colleges
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Doctor of Education Dissertation, Hofstra University.