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The positive responses to the questions of the degree of support students perceived to be coming from teachers, and the degree to which teachers encouraged students to seek help, may be related to the degree of confidence the students reported when asked if they felt confident writing a paper in their courses. Five of the twenty students interviewed in the present study reported that their teachers in the content areas did not provide much in the way of guidance with assignments. It was like you were supposed to know how to write essays. I wish he had given us some guidance on what he expected. Two of the students mentioned that their teachers assigned short answer style questions but only marked the content without commenting on the composition.
Though some science teachers gave outlines of the way in which they wanted the labs written up, for the most part, once again, students were not UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 148 given any specific guidelines to follow. In fact, teachers often did not grade the effectiveness of the writing itself unless they also happened to be English teachers who were teaching a content area course like history. Langer and Applebee (1987) hypothesized that when students can see a clear purpose in the writing tasks (i.
The authors further state that the role of instructional scaffolding is to provide students UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 149 with appropriate models and strategies for addressing new problems. These models and strategies will, eventually, enable the students to do the tasks on their own. In this study, a similar theme emerged in the qualitative data concerning the use of outlines, models, and examples in class. These students reported that they found the writing aids extremely helpful. It is worth noting, I think, that the examples the students gave with respect to outlines, models, and examples all pertained to the Grade 12 high school English exam. There was no way of discerning the number of times high school teachers made use who can write my paper for me of outlines, models, or examples in other ways. My teacher was always very helpful in telling us what was expected in the essay, and gave us essay guidelines of what we had to include in the essay. And I guess figure out the organization from there... The students expressed the view that the kinds of who can write my paper for me papers they would be expected to write in first-year university were going to be different than the ones they had been UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 151 writing in high school. It was their perception that their high school teachers had not done enough to prepare them for the kinds of writing they anticipated they would have to do in university.
It is noteworthy that, though the students involved in the pilot study worried that their high school writing assignments did nothing to advance their skills as writers, the students who completed the survey did not appear to have the same concerns.
There were no qualitative data available concerning these questions since these were not questions that were posed to students during the focus groups or interviews. The research conducted by Applebee (1981) seems to corroborate these findings. The students who participated in the focus group and the individual interviews were more critical of their writing assignments than were the students who completed the quantitative survey.
UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 153 Figure 4.
This question necessarily follows the question regarding English Language Arts assignments and their contribution to helping students advance as writers. Once again, some (3 of 4) of the focus group students who participated in the pilot study expressed the opinion that their content who can write my paper for me UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 154 area teachers did not make an effort to help students improve their overall writing ability. They believed that essays in the content areas were marked for content with little or no consideration given to the quality of the writing. The students reported some confusion regarding the way in which essays were taught and graded in content courses. They wrote their essays for content courses the same way they wrote essays for Language Arts classes and did not understand why the writing products would be assessed differently.
Perception of Writing Competence In Relation To Marks Received This question was added to the survey as a result of the pilot study focus group. They felt that they received high marks simply for submitting their assignments regardless of the time or effort they invested. Because the marks they received seemed arbitrary, the grading did not give them any indication of the ways in which they could improve their writing. The students in this study, who participated in the focus groups, and individual interviews, expressed concern that their high school grades were inflated and therefore had no bearing on the quality of the work they were producing. According to Sandler (2009), grade inflation occurs when high grades are awarded for low achievement.
The result of this practice is that the grades are no longer representative of student academic achievement in their courses. Similarly, Ziomek and Svec (1997) define grade inflation as an increase in grades without a parallel increase in ability.
Grades are meant to convey levels of academic achievement and express them in terms that everyone understands. High school grades are especially vulnerable to inflation as teachers reward grades based on varying standards and purposes. There is no qualitative UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 156 data available for this question since it was not a topic that was raised in the qualitative interviews or focus groups. That is, it was their perception that their competence was not as great as their marks might suggest.
However, the students who UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 157 completed the survey did not seem to have the same concern. The results from the quantitative survey are different from the results of the qualitative data in terms of how students view their marks. This difference could be accounted for, again, by the make-up of the students who participated in the qualitative research.