The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

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The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

The Student News Site of Piscataway High School

The Chieftain

Saying Goodbye to Expository Writing

Changes to the “Expos” freshman writing and composition course at Rutgers make their way to PHS
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Expository Writing, a class that had for many years been the bane of a Rutgers freshman’s existence, but also a class that propelled them forward in their college careers, is no longer the required writing class for incoming freshmen at the state university of NJ. Piscataway had offered the Expository Writing course through Rutgers for many years; however, due to recent changes Rutgers has made to their freshman curriculum, PHS will be replacing the Expository Writing course with the new College Writing course that is offered at the university.

The original Expository Writing course began at Rutgers in the 1990s to prepare freshmen for the writing requirements at Rutgers University. According to the director of the Writing Program Institute & placement and testing at Rutgers, Brian Becker, “the focus in Expository Writing had been more squarely on the skills of critical reading and on the structure of academic writing.Universally, most English teachers and professors agree that Expository Writing was different from traditional high school  English courses because of the way that it focused on skills used for college and academic writing rather than literature and language. Rutgers hoped that students would leave the course with an ability to connect and write about non-fiction essays and provide their own insight on them; however, the structure of the course had changed many times since it was established.

“The most recent changes had been to include the Textual Analysis Exercise (TAE) and the Final Interpretive Exercise (FIE) in lieu of longer papers”, states Becker. Those changes attempted to help students adapt the theoretical frameworks students learned about in the expository readings to current events.  Changes like these were common within the course as it had been a part of the Rutgers curriculum since the 1990s.

The most recent change, however, was also the largest in the history of the course. Brian Becker explained, “The biggest change, of course, has been to phase out Expository Writing as the model and to replace it with a new set of principles in College Writing”.

The main reasons for this drastic shift from a traditional Expository Writing class to a brand new class, College Writing, were the need for a broader curriculum and a focus on growth. Becker stated, “In an effort to evolve the writing curriculum to keep pace with changes in how texts are read and written, College Writing introduces more genres and focuses more explicitly on revision as central to the writing process”

Expository Writing was offered as a Rutgers class at Piscataway High School, and offered college credit to any students who earned a “C” or higher in the class. However, as the standard writing course at Rutgers is now the College Writing course, in the coming 2024-2025 school year, PHS will no longer offer Expository Writing to senior students. However, next year, PHS seniors will still be able to earn college credit by completing the new College Writing course, which will be offered next year as a senior honors course.

This change is disappointing for many students, but a relief for some, as Expository Writing was infamous for being what some students referred to as a “GPA dropper”. The curriculum for College Writing is currently being finalized within the PHS English Department; however, it will be aimed to prepare students for the intense level and amount of academic writing they will be expected to complete throughout their college careers. How will all of these changes affect PHS students? Stay tuned, as we will find out next school year!

Note: if you are a current junior and are interested in enrolling in College Writing, please speak with your counselor.

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Mahi Patel
Mahi Patel, Journalism 2 Reporter
Hi! I’m Mahi and I’m currently a junior taking Journalism as an Independent Study. I always loved writing and I am so excited to be able to share my work with others through the Chieftain. I especially love to write about current events and student life so there will be many posts about that! Thank you so much for checking us out!"

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