These are paragraphs constructed in class by groups of students using quotes from Mercury Reader articles.  Students were to build a potential body paragraph for a Unit 4 essay.  These are not polished paragraphs as they were constructed in roughly about 30 minutes, but they are students' attempts at weaving quotes from different authors together around a common thought / idea / theme.  I think some of them did pretty well. Students were also attempting to use the citation formula (tag + quote + cite + explanation = good support) we learned for Unit 3.  Also, because a number of articles focused on gender differences, students were grouped by gender.  Did one group do better than others?

Ariel, Bianca, Jess, Markela: 1

In today’s world many people are going about things in a different way because of their race. “The gender disparity widens among low-income and minority students. And it is especially dramatic among African Americans” (Hulbert 167). What this means is girls tend to strive to do better than boys do. college shouldn’t discriminate against different people. They should “hold high expectations for all students, including those from groups that have historically not performed well in school – low-income students, racial or language-minority students, or students with disabilities” (Nave 187).

Kevin, Michael, Scott, Antonio, Kirk: 2

Education sees many problems, one of the larger problems is stress or pressure. Nancy Cantor states ‘The task of universities is urgent: to build on themes of diversity…in creating living learning communities” (196). This shows that there is not only pressure on students but the schools too. Caroline Bird states “An 18-year-old high school graduate is still too young and confused to know what he wants to do, let alone what is good for him” (226). There is immense stress for a young students to in some instances, pick out his future when he doesn’t even know what he wants to do. Brian Doherty states “America ruptures along fault lines of ethnicity and class and the SAT…is a potential earthquake” (171). The SAT puts immense pressure on students for a lot of them it shapes their future.

Emily, Melanie, Kami, Sydney: 3

In society today people may argue that "vital exchanges of people and ideas are the foundation of our democracy" but sometimes the question of if men or women are the people these "vital exchanges" come from (Cantor 196).  Studies show that "boys call out eight times as often as girls do.  When the boys call out, they get answers, when the girls do, they're often admonished for speaking out" (Esterich 160).  This shows that men have more of an input.  Although "boys appear to be later verbal bloomers than girls, which sets them up for early encounters with academic failure" (Hulbert 168).  It seems more socially correct for  men's voices to overpower a woman's voice.

Josh, Fred, Rich, Nick, Dylan: 4

Some scholars state that diversity is beneficial to students and democracy.  Bird says "the real value of college is learning to get along with others, to practice skills, to 'sort out my head,' and these have nothing to do with curriculum" (Bird 225).  Bird says that college's purpose is for students to socialize with others.  Cantor says "In our increasingly multiracial democracy it is vital that universities create exchanges across the rigid boundaries of race and ethnicity religion and culture" (198).  Cantor says that diversity helps students exchange ideas that will strengthen democracy by getting them civilly engaged.  Not only should universities have a diverse religious and ethnic population, but a diverse population in gender.  Estrich says 'boys may pay the price as well.  Some educators...believe that all-boy classes may be part of the solution to the dismal failure and dropout rates" (162).  However, Hulbert says "females have yet more strides to make in the sciences" (169).  Both sexes can help exchange ideas which could possibly strengthen the students' socializing skills and reform democracy.

Danielle, Empress, Natalie, Danielle, Stephanie: 5

There are many stereotypes throughout the educational world.  Black women are stereotyped in many ways.  For example black girls are dropping out of school and having babies.  According to Ann Hulbert, "black women now earn twice and many degrees as black men do.  They also receive double the number of master's degrees" (167).  Boys and girls are also stereotyped tremendously.  According to Hulbert, boys do poorly in verbal skills testing, but boys do better in math. Doherty says that "the SAT measures a student's developed reasoning skills in math and verbal [areas]" (173).  (This group didn't have time to finish but were going to make a connection between the fact boys do better at math and math and science skills are important in testing).

Ace, Dougie, Chris, Greg: 6

The SAT measures a student's developed reasoning skills in math and verbal [areas].  One-third of the female board members of fortune 1,000 companies are graduates of women's colleges, even though those colleges contribute less than 4 percent of total graduates.  The gender gap in science and engineering has eclipsed a different educational disparity: boys perform consistently below girls on most tests of reading and verbal skills and lag in college enrollment and degree attainment.*

*This group put quotes together, but didn't tag or cite.  We discussed the need to tag, quote, & cite information :).

Adrian, Eden, Aly, Brittany: 7

Testing is supposed to be the measurement of our intelligence, but instead it is really how well you've been prepared for the test. "What the SAT really tests is how well you do on the tests" (Doherty 171).  The SAT prepares you to dissect problems and come up with solutions more than giving educational benefits.  That is why so many prep classes are being organized and paid for.  Tests as well in general are biased toward boys.  This is proven, "boys also outscore girls on 11 of the 14 College Board Achievement tests and on the ACT exam and on teh SAT" (160).  Furthermore, tests are further dittered [manipulated] because a student's performance can be improved through various methods.  For example, through theacher's involvement "because teacher expectations can exert a powerful positive or negative influence on the achievement of individual students, they link low student achievement to the low expectations teachers hold for many groups of students" (Nave 183).  Overall, tests do not measure a student's ability - it is up to the students themselves.

Omar, A.C.,Tam, Jsaron: 8

The pressure of getting into college is enormous but overcoming gender barriers in specific fields are uniquely hard.  Have you studied for the test? Yet, you ask what test?  And that answer is, life.  Many teens have not studied for the test of life and in turn, fail.  This allows me to believe the teenagers are confused and too young for college. "An eighteen-year-old high school graduate is still too young and confused to know what he wants to do let alone what is good for him' (Bird 226).  Most teachers in class show more attention to the boys when they shout out rather than the girls who they look down upon.  Esterich says "boys call out eight times as often as girls do.  When the boys call out they got answers.  When the girls do they're often adminished for speaking out" (Esterich 160).  In society boys are more concentrated on than girls are.  Men perform consistently lower than girls, but have thrived in science and engineering because of the attention of the teacher.  (This group was also unfinished, they were about to lead in with another quote but ran out of time).