Theses Doctoral

A Cross-Comparison Case Study Analyzing the Nature of the Discourse of First-Year Composition Courses of one Community College Dual Enrollment Program

Keane, Kelly Alanna

This dissertation examines the history, funding, structure, efficacy, and challenges of dual enrollment programs in English (and more specifically in First-Year Composition, FYC, courses) that provide access to higher education for high school students prior to graduation, as these programs have developed and currently operate in the United States.
At the center of this qualitative study is a cross comparison case study designed to reveal the quality and nature of the academic discourse that characterizes two class sections of a first-year composition course in one northern, NJ community college campus as compared with two class sections of (ostensibly) the same course offered in one feeder high school in its dual enrollment program. This inquiry will draw on interviews, course artifacts, classroom discussions, and one essay assignment from each class along with research memos and fieldnotes for data to use in a discourse analysis informed by the practice and theory of Gee (2011) and Moffett (1968, 1982).
Through such a discourse analysis, this study aims to reveal the extent to which these classes are conducted in ways that are consistent with the aims and cultural practices of first-year composition courses as they are defined by leading composition theorists, current research, and the policy and best-practice documents of the relevant professional organizations. This cross-comparison case study will also provide insight into how the quality and character of a DE Program in FYC may be linked to the quality and character of the administrative oversight of a college’s DE Programs.
Beyond the close analysis of DE courses in FYC in one typical and representative community college this dissertation will also focus on the broader problem of developing, operating and evaluating DE programs in FYC in any college. The most widely respected dual enrollment programs in first-year writing have been guided in their development by their affiliation with various national professional organizations and research centers that have provided policies and standards that apply to DE programs in any field. What has been missing, however, is a set of practical guidelines and principles for practice designed specifically for DE Programs in First Year Composition, and informed by sound theory and current research in the teaching and learning of writing, while also drawing on the experience of exemplary DE Programs in FYI, and whatever wisdom is available from professional organizations and research centers.
Many community colleges, where dual enrollment programs are most often located, do not have the resources to seek guidance from professional organizations or conduct their own research into best practices for each of the DE courses they might want to establish. A secondary aim of this dissertation, then, is to fill this gap for DE Programs in First Year Composition by providing a research based, theoretically sound, and practice-oriented set of guidelines and procedures for developing, operating, and assessing dual enrollment programs in First Year Composition for use most particularly in community colleges.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
English Education
Thesis Advisors
Blau, Sheridan
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 3, 2019