WPA 2010, Conversations Toward Action - Abstracts and Conversation Needed Now More than Ever!

WPA 2010 abstracts are now posted! Take a look at what's coming up in CWPA's largest conference ever! We're very excited about the variety of topics that will be included and the variety of people who will be presenting. Graduate students; 2- and 4-year instructors; people from writing centers; department chairs ... it's going to be a great event!

Now more than ever, we need to have the kind of conversations toward action that will transpire at WPA 2010. Inside and outside of our institutions, there continues to be talk about what students should learn in writing classes, why they should learn those things, and how those things should be taught. To have a voice in the conversation and a seat at the table, we need to make sure that we are talking -- with one another, and with others in our institutions -- to promote research-based best practice writing instruction.

On Tuesday, the Common Core State Standards, a document that is likely to have a profound effect on these questions at the K-12 level, will be released. Whether a writing instructor or a program director, a department chair or someone working in a learning assistance center, we all need to be aware of the Common Core State Standards Initiative and consider its implications for our work.

Briefly, the CCSSI is an effort to craft common standards for several subjects, including writing, for students in grades K-12. One intent of the standards is to support what the authors call "college and career readiness." Previous drafts of the Standards (available from the CCSSI web site) have also mentioned the potential for using assessments of the standards (assessments which, in previous drafts, have not been defined, although ACT is a partner in the development of the Standards and their research [which is often used as the basis for development of ACT tests] is cited extensively in the research accompanying the standards).

As with other initiatives, it will be important for postsecondary writing professionals (that's us!) to be able to discuss what it means to be "ready for college writing classes" with a variety of others (inside and outside of the academy). To help with this, CWPA, along with the National Writing Project and NCTE, is at work on the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing, a document that (working backward from the WPA Outcomes Statement) will outline the experiences and habits of mind that contribute to readiness from the perspective of secondary and postsecondary instructors at a variety of institutions, as well. That document will be ready in Fall 2010. You can bet, too, that the conversations toward action from WPA 2010 will be included there. We'll be excited (and eager) to hear from you!