Looking Back: On Raising the Academic Quality of Student Writing

No one learns to write spontaneously, and certainly first-year college students cannot attain advanced academic skills in a three-month semester.

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  • Focus your discussion on your topic and not your sources. Do not frame your claims around your source: “Johnson (2014) conducted research on grade retention and found that grade retention correlates with dropping out of high school, but not with higher achievement.” Instead address the content of your sources: “Grade retention correlates with dropping out of high school, but not with higher achievement” (Johnson, 2014; Van Pelt, 2017).”
  • Keep your claims at a scholarly/academic level. Stating that something has “been debated for decades” or “recently this has become a controversy” is not a scholarly or academic purpose for examining a topic; scholars typically do not consider (or care) if or not something is a debate or controversial. Related, avoid in academic/scholarly writing making claims of “throughout history” or “has recently become a debate/controversial” because these both are overly simplistic claims that make you look not credible or nuanced in understanding complex topics.

Written by

P. L. Thomas, Professor of Education Furman University, taught high school English before moving to teacher education. https://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/

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