Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Joseph Moxley

Keywords

Assessment, Connection, Practice, Separation, Theory

Abstract

ABSTRACT

This thesis examines an incongruity that exists within Florida's ESOL program. While the curriculum standards direct teachers to "develop and integrate" skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing, student promotions to higher fluency levels are based solely on reading assessments. Listening assessments are also required to "determine instructional needs," but writing assessments are not required and, in most cases, not given. As a result, reading is prioritized, writing is subordinated, the connection between the two skills is broken, and the mutual benefits of integration are lost.

Studies conducted during the last 50 years have consistently shown that the integration of reading and writing produces a symbiosis in which students learn to write from reading and learn to read from writing (Olson and Land pp 269, 289). Many educational programs have now adopted an integrated approach to instruction in reading and writing (Common Core 1). Others, like Florida's ESOL program, tout the idea of integration in the curriculum standards without promoting the practice of integration in the classroom. Without a program of de facto integration, curricular proclamations devolve into hollow platitudes.

To reconnect the two skills and restore integration, Florida must require a writing assessment system. This thesis proposes several writing assessments from BEST Literacy, FCAT and the GED program that could be adapted for use. Not only would a writing assessment promote balance and integration, it would better prepare ESOL students to succeed in a world that requires proficiency, not only in reading, but also in writing (Graham 31).

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