Survey of High School and College Composition Teachers

A survey of high school English and college composition teachers' attitudes, expectations and realities. Please click on "submit survey" button at end of survey for your answers to be recorded even if you don't complete all the survey questions.

 

This survey will give the New Jersey Writing Alliance a clearer picture of the ways that high school and college writing instructors hold similar or differing expectations about what students need as they move from one stage in their education to another.
 

Your taking this survey is strictly voluntary. No one will be able to tell that you've taken this survey, and your name or identity is nowhere recorded in this survey, beyond general demographic identifiers.

 

There is no penalty for not participating in this survey. It will take about 15 minutes to complete. Results will be shared at the NJ Writing Alliance conference at Monmouth University, April 8, 2003, and on our website.

 

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Ed Jones, Assistant Professor of Writing at Seton Hall University and the current chair of the NJ Writing Alliance, at 973-761-9000 x5099.

 

This project has been reviewed and approved by the Seton Hall University Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects Research. The IRB believes that the research procedures adequately safeguard the subjectís privacy, welfare, civil liberties, and rights.
 

The Chairperson of the IRB may be reached at (973) 275-2974. Survey results will be shared at the spring New Jersey Writing Alliance Conference at Monmouth University, April 8, 2003.

 

By choosing "I accept" below, you give your consent to take this survey and allow Ed Jones to use your data and to share the research findings with other professionals.

I accept.


Part 1: If you're a high school instructor, indicate your agreement or disagreement with the following statements concerning college composition instructors' expectations. If you're a college instructor, respond according to your own expectations.

 

 

strongly disagree

 

disagree

 

don't know/no opinion

 

agree

 

strongly agree

 

College composition instructors believe that journals are/can be an integral part of learning to write.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect every paper submitted for evaluation to have a clear discernible thesis statement.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect writers to know what they meant to say before they begin to write.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect students to be able to analyze texts by demonstrating knowledge of literary devices/terms.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect each student essay to have an introductory paragraph, a concluding paragraph and three or more body paragraphs.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will consider the use of "I" inappropriate in students' papers.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect students to be able to find the theme of any piece of literature they read.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect students to draw upon their own interests and experiences in their writing.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will want their students to be very familiar with note cards, notes and bibliographies for college research papers.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect students to write all papers submitted for evaluation in a formal, academic style, using a sophisticated vocabulary.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect their students to write for other students as well as the teacher.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will assign library research papers.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will teach or guide students toward the correct interpretation of selected literary works.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect their students to be able to relate the ideas they read to their own lives and experiences in their essays.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect students to use a thesaurus when composing essays.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will provide opportunities for students to read and respond to each other's drafts.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect students to do ungraded, exploratory writing, discounting correctness and form.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect students to engage in a variety of prewriting activities

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will expect students to observe the five-paragraph structure in papers submitted for evaluation.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors are likely to do most of their teaching through the lecture method.

 

 

 

 

 

College composition instructors will spend a large amount of class time teaching grammar, form, and correctness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 2: Classroom practices. Please indicate the amount of time you dedicate to each of the following teaching practices.
 

 

Never

 

Infrequently

 

Occasionally

 

Often

 

I write the papers I assign and/or write with my students in class.

 

 

 

 

I share my own writing and process with my students.

 

 

 

 

I work with my students while they're in the process of drafting and revising.

 

 

 

 

I provide opportunities for students to discover their own topics for papers.

 

 

 

 

I ask students to read their work aloud in small groups.

 

 

 

 

 

Part 3: Textual features. Please indicate how much you emphasize the following items in your teaching of writing.

 

 

the least

 

slightly

 

some

 

significantly

 

very much

 

the most

 

control of surface features such as spelling, punctuation, and grammar

 

 

 

 

 

 

understanding of the rhetorical situation

 

 

 

 

 

 

personal voice

 

 

 

 

 

 

topic sentence

 

 

 

 

 

 

development of ideas

 

 

 

 

 

 

audience awareness

 

 

 

 

 

 

functional structure or organization

 

 

 

 

 

 

use of apt examples

 

 

 

 

 

 

discernible thesis statement

 

 

 

 

 

 

readable style/clarity

 

 

 

 

 

 

appropriate voice, tone, and formality

 

 

 

 

 

 

writing that reflects inquiry, learning, thinking

 

 

 

 

 

 

use of sources to support a thesis

 

 

 

 

 

 

critique of ideas from other sources and integration into the student's own thesis

 

 

 

 

 

 

use of MLA style, especially in documentation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 4: Please let us know a little bit about you as a teacher.

What level(s) do you teach English/Composition?

high school freshman
high school sophomore
high school junior
high school senior
high school senior AP
college freshman
other

How long have you been a teacher?

1-3 years
3-5 years
5-10 years
10-15 years
15-20 years
20+ years

What is the number of years you have had teaching private school?

0
1-3 years
3-5 years
5-10 years
10-15 years
15-20 years
20+ years

What is the number of years you have had experience teaching public school?

0
1-3 years
3-5 years
5-10 years
10-15 years
15-20 years
20+ years

What is your level of education?

B.A.
M.A. in progress
M.A.
Ph.D. in progress
Ph.D.

What type of school do you teach in now?

public high school
private high school
parochial high school
four-year state college
four-year private college
community college
other

Part 5: Overall goals. Please indicate whether you agree or disagree with the following statements with regard to the classes you teach.
 

 

strongly disagree

 

disagree

 

mildly disagree

 

mildly agree

 

agree

 

strongly agree

 

One of my most important goals is to instill in students a love and understanding of good literature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my most important goals is to help students express their thoughts and feelings on paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my most important goals is to help students write strong academic essays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my most important goals is to help students be prepared to read and write for whatever job they may obtain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my most important goals is to prepare students to be engaged citizens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How many formal papers do you assign per semester on average? (This does not include drafts--only final graded papers.)

none
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
more than 10

Part 6: For the next questions, please consider how much time and emphasis you give to various areas.

Subject matter. Approximately how much time do you spend in each of the following areas? (College instructors, if College English is a two-semester course, consider it as a single combined course for the purposes of this question.)

 

0%

 

5%

 

10%

 

15%

 

20%

 

25%

 

30%

 

40%

 

50%

 

60%

 

70%

 

80%

 

Reading and discussing literature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing about literature (includes peer review, conferences with teacher, etc.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading and discussing nonfiction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing about nonfiction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oral presentations (speeches, debates, dramatic presentations)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vocabulary development (if separate from reading mentioned above)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar and mechanics (if separate from writing above)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you answered "other" to question 12, please identify the area.

 

What percentage of essays go through a drafting process, so that there is at least one rough draft before the final, graded draft?

Assessment. About what percentage of the students' final course grade is determined by the following:

 

0%

 

5%

 

10%

 

15%

 

20%

 

25%

 

30%

 

40%

 

50%

 

60%

 

70%

 

80%

 

90%

 

100%

 

Objective tests or quizzes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essay tests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oral presentations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class participation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portfolio of written work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-assessment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misc. written homework assignments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you answered "other" to question 16, please indicate upon what else you base your students' grades.

If you are a college instructor, please answer the following question briefly (you have 255 characters): What is your perception of the strengths and weaknesses of the students who attend your freshman writing classes?

If you are a high school instructor, please answer the following question briefly (you have 255 characters): How is your teaching affected, if at all, by your perception of what colleges expect, explicitly or implicitly, of your graduating students?