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Ruth Ann McKinney, M.Ed., J.D.
Katie Rose Guest Pryal, J.D., Ph.D.
Writing well is not easy, but it is a critical skill for success in college and in life. Yet many of us worry that there are key grammar conventions used in college-level writing that we do not fully understand.
Core Grammar for CollegeSM (CGC) is an online, self-directed learning tool designed to help students learn the most critical grammar conventions needed to succeed in college-level writing. CGC includes the following elements:
- a series of carefully selected Lessons, clustered in six Sections, that teach critical grammar skills in the context of writing and revision;
- interactive Exercises (with hints and immediately reinforcing feedback) following each Lesson that allow students to actively apply the grammar skills covered in that Lesson;
- a Pre-Test and series of Post-Tests that allow students (and their Instructors) to assess the students' mastery of the grammar skills covered in CGC;
- a "Weigh-In" game that gives students an opportunity to complete more interactive Exercises while keeping a record of their success; and
- additional online resources that include a hyperlinked grammar Rules Index and a Glossary of grammar terms.
Best of all, CGC will not waste a student's time. A student who can demonstrate mastery of a concept in the opening Pre-Test can "test out" of the corresponding Lesson, preserving energy to focus on the remaining Lessons. In addition, students can track their progress through CGC using a home page that retains their scores on tests and records their progress through Lessons and Exercises.
Studies by education professionals show that the best way to learn grammar is through contextualized one-on-one instruction and through reinforcement of student learning with immediate feedback. CGC uses the latest technology to create this type of one-on-one environment and to provide immediate feedback to students. The interactive Exercises included with each Lesson simulate real-world writing and provide instant explanations about why a particular answer is correct or incorrect.
Over a thousand students participated in the CGC Trial Test in the fall of 2012, taking hundreds of multiple-choice questions. These questions were then carefully calibrated to create multiple-choice Pre-Test and Post-Tests that students and Instructors can rely on with confidence as valid assessment tools of the grammar skills taught by CGC.
CGC includes a Teacher's Manual with information for Instructors and an optional online Learning Management System (LMS) to help Instructors track their students' progress (if they are interested in doing so). An accessible version of CGC is available to students using accommodations.