Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Derek Owens

Abstract

For nearly thirty years the field of composition studies has struggled to address the needs of at-risk students who attend the two-year community college. While some states have opted to eliminate “remediation” programs, others have developed unique approaches to working with students who need support in order to succeed in college level courses. Out of the necessity for alterations to traditional “developmental” writing courses and programs, the Accelerated Learning Program model came into existence. In 2007 at the Community College of Baltimore County Dr. Peter Adams and his colleagues set out a plan to redefine the field of traditional “developmental” writing by creating an accelerated learning model that incorporated the concepts of mainstream education alongside a co-requisite course pairing. In order to create the best opportunity for at-risk students to succeed, Dr. Adams and his colleagues linked a traditional developmental course with a standard freshman composition credit-bearing course. While the original Accelerated Learning Program model has changed over time its basic tenets and mission are the same; it is designed to help at-risk students succeed through their writing course sequence in order to persist through their educational goals. Furthermore, ALPs also attempt to reverse the negative labeling practices that at times brand students and emotionally impact their relationship to their literacy practices.

This dissertation chronicles the history of “remediation” while discussing the issues that labeling can have on students’ academic lives. By reviewing a variety of approaches to traditional “developmental” writing and examining my own literacy narrative history, I work toward defining the problems surrounding traditional approaches to “remediation” at the two-year college. Based on my experiences as a “developmental” student who becomes a teacher of “developmental” students, I began to realize how inefficient the approaches to “remediation” were at my institution. After learning about the Accelerated Learning Program, I became focused on implementing one at Suffolk County Community College, and this dissertation discusses that process. Additionally, given the negative labeling practices, I argue that instead of calling students “basic,” “developmental,” or “remedial,” the field should pivot toward using terms that empower at-risk student writers.

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