William Bryant PhD Articles

Preparing High Schoolers for College Writing Success—Pt 4 (A Sociocultural Model of Writing)

A Sociocultural Model A general disconnect between high school and college instruction is well documented.[1] According to a six-year national study on college readiness from Stanford University, “coursework between high school and college is not connected;...

Preparing High Schoolers for College Writing Success—Pt 3 (Authentic Composition)

Authentic Composition First, students need practice with extended, source-based composition. As shown above, an abundance of research indicates that most student writing prior to college is not rigorous enough to prepare them for the demands of college-level academic...

Preparing High Schoolers for College Writing Success—Pt 2 (What is College-Ready Writing?)

College-Ready Writing There is no universal standard of college-ready writing, in part because there are such wide differences in the academic demands of postsecondary institutions, from open-access community colleges to highly selective universities (Marlink &...

Preparing High Schoolers for College Writing Success—Pt 1 (Introduction)

Introduction Too many students find that the kind of writing they were asked to do in high school does not resemble the writing required of them in college. Their high school classes mostly assigned short answer responses, not full-length essays. If they got a chance...
The Future of Testing

The Future of Testing

Given how much the rest of education has changed since the middle of the 20th century, it’s remarkable that the model of large-scale student assessment we have today still looks pretty much the way it did back in the nineteen-fifties: a group of...

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A Place for the Humanities in the Digital Age

A Place for the Humanities in the Digital Age

In the 1950s, C. P. Snow famously argued that academia had separated into two cultures—the sciences and the humanities—with no commerce between them. As both a novelist and a scientist himself, Snow shuttled between the two worlds, and lamented...

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College As Culture Shock

College As Culture Shock

The standards-based education reform movement, kicked off by A Nation At Risk in 1983, has been around long enough now to start showing results, if it’s going to. Unfortunately, there is not much evidence that this path is leading anywhere good....

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Authentic Learning Requires Authentic Assessment

Authentic Learning Requires Authentic Assessment

If project-based learning were to form the core of curricula in American schools, our problems with large-scale standardized testing would become even more pronounced than they are now. This is not a reason to forego project-based learning, of...

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Function Follows Form

Function Follows Form

The problems with standardized tests lie less with the content they cover than with their very form—which drives their content and everything else about them. The tests have looked pretty much the way they do ever since the fifties—a bunch of kids...

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Welcome to the Sausage Factory

Welcome to the Sausage Factory

I used to work for ACT, Inc., designing and developing student assessments. In my final years there, I was Director of the Writing and Communications Literacies group. In one of my last major projects, I headed the team responsible for the revamped...

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