In discussing codes, Bartholomae states about students "To speak with authority they have to speak not only in another's voice but through another's code; and they not only have to do this, they have to speak in the voice and through the codes of those of us with power and wisdom; and they not only have to do this, they have to do it before they know what they are doing, before they have a project to participate in, and before, at least in terms of our disciplines, they have anything to say (622). I found his argument very interesting in terms of assessment of entering freshmen. If high school students are given a "5 paragraph essay" writing education, how can we expect them to understand our academic "code" or even that there is a code? Should we be assessing their writing in terms of the 5 paragraph essay and give them time to acclimate themselves to scholarly writing once they are immersed in the discipline. When is it appropriate to expect students to write like academics?
Response from Krystal
Bartholomae quotes Shaugnessy as saying, "No education must be total, it must be continuous" (625). Teachers teach / request the 5-paragraph esssay because it's easy; it is relatively easy to teach, easy to read, and easy to grade. It is like a cookie-cutter home builder. After the first few, you just intuitively fly through them, as writers and graders. This type of essay has its place in education at the elementary level when writers are blossoming and learning the code; I don't think it belongs anywhere else.
Unfortunately, the education system is not "set up" to be recursive, the next year building and feeding off the previous years. Teachers see their class(es) as exclusive to others. Of course we have standards (TEKS) that scaffold; that is wonderful on paper, yet not in application. The logistics of getting a new set of students each year with different composition successes and failures inhibits teachers from being able to, for lack of a better word, trust the students' past teachers' instructions. We begin each year with blank slates.