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2012 February RTE, v46.3

Non-Member Price: $18.75

NCTE Member Price: $6.25

Research in the Teaching of English
Volume 46, Number 3, February 2012

Level(s): College, Elementary, Middle, Secondary

ISBN/ISSN: 0034-527X


Research in the Teaching of English
Volume 46, Number 3, February 2012

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Editors’ Introduction: Tracking, Assessment, and Persistent Problems of Inequity
Mark Dressman, Sarah McCarthey, and Paul Prior

Permeable Textual Discussion in Tracked Language Arts Classrooms
Kristine Gritter
Abstract: Permeable textual discussion occurs when the unofficial texts and discursive practices and personal histories that are already recognized and valued in students’ cultures are scaffolds to academically sanctioned literacies. Ideally, permeable textual discussions are safe havens where students’ identities (racial, gender, world views) are intentionally interwoven with classroom texts, and classroom communities are formed that responsively address matters of student identity. Yet the social contexts and instructional practices of academic tracking may shape how students reveal their identities during textual talk. This project examines the conditions of permeability during textual talk in tracked classrooms taught by the same teachers using the same texts. Using ethnographic methods and discourse analysis, the author examines how two tracked urban middle school language arts students of African American heritage revealed and hid their identities during textual talk and the instructional moves that precipitated textual talk.

Composing the Career Portfolio and the Classed Subject
Ross Collin
Abstract: In this article, I consider how subjectivities are composed and assessed within the boundaries of a career-focused portfolio program. First, by examining how portfolio composition is taught in senior English courses, I identify the qualities of the subject position students are called to occupy. Next, I present discourse analyses of portfolio materials composed by two students of different class backgrounds. More specifically, I explore how these students draw upon and adapt different resources to promote themselves as different kinds of subjects-in-worlds. As these disparate performances are assessed according to their coherence with certain class values, I argue, the program rates certain lives more favorably than others.

Placement of Students into First-Year Writing Courses
Norbert Elliot, Perry Deess, Alex Rudniy, and Kamal Joshi
Abstract: The purpose of the present study is to examine concurrent and predictive evidence used in the validation of ACCUPLACER, a purchased test used to place first-year students into writing courses at an urban, public research university devoted to science and technology education. Concurrent evidence was determined by correlations between ACCUPLACER scores and scores on two other tests designed to measure writing ability: the New Jersey Basic Skills Placement Test and the SAT Writing Section. Predictive evidence was determined by coefficients of determination between ACCUPLACER scores and end-of-semester performance measures. A longitudinal study was also conducted to investigate the grade history of students placed into first-year writing by established and new methods. When analyzed in terms of gender and ethnicity impact, ACCUPLACER failed to achieve statistically significant prediction rates for student performance. The study reveals some limits of placement testing and the problems related to it.

Announcing the Alan C. Purves Award Recipient (Volume 45)
Susan Schorn, Angie Zapata, and Michelle Fowler-Amato (2011 Award Committee)
Abstract: The 2011 Alan C. Purves Award Committee is pleased to announce this year’s award recipient, Ramón Antonio Martínez.

The 2011 NCTE Presidential Address: Telling Our Stories (Ka Ha'i Mo'olelo 'Ana)
Yvonne Siu-Runyan
Abstract: Yvonne Siu-Runyan’s presidential address, delivered at the NCTE Annual Convention in Chicago, Illinois, on November 20, 2011, focuses on the powerful stories that define us.

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