Next steps

The differences—and similarities—among all New Jersey institutions generally seem larger than the differences between high schools and colleges.  The mere existence of core curriculum standards on the state level doesn't guarantee that teachers believe or act on them.

Some possible projects:

Those teachers at all levels who are concerned with close reading, argumentation, and critical thinking skills should develop position statements on such concrete issues as the 5-paragraph essay, the use of "I" in academic essays, and the place of nonacademic essays in the curriculum.

Teachers at all levels can work jointly on developing curricula that effectively integrate writing and reading whether it be literature or nonfiction—or literature and nonfiction.

Teachers at all levels can translate the teaching of the skills of close reading, critical thinking, and developing arguments into practices that are developmentally effective at various levels.

Given the disparity of focus on writing process (especially multiple drafts and essay writing) in college compared to high school, perhaps institutions of higher education can band together with high schools to help challenge the institutional (or other) constraints that hinder the best writing process pedagogies.

What are your ideas?  We'd like to hear from you.  Please write us at