Where's the Rhetoric? Exposing the (Mis)Alignment in the Common Core State Writing Standards


Ashley Rives, Allison Wynhoff Olsen


Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy


At the university level, rhetoric dominates conversations surrounding writing pedagogy, yet preservice English language arts teachers are not typically instructed to teach rhetorically. Although the stated exigence of the Common Core State Standards is to prepare students to be college and career ready, this analysis suggests misalignment. This research analyzed how rhetoric is used in the Common Core and how the Standards indicate what is necessary for writing in college. Findings indicate that rhetoric is used implicitly rather than explicitly and as a tool rather than a theory. The Common Core also promotes a progression of prescriptive writing tasks, a language of power, and a preference for logic over emotion. Rather than promote readiness, the Standards perpetuate the gap between secondary and postsecondary writing experiences.



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