Graduate Program


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Donna J. Binns

Thesis Committee Member

Robin L. Murray

Thesis Committee Member

Tim N. Taylor


Due to a shift to the Common Core State Standards, many teachers are in a state of transition. This thesis examines this transition by taking an in-depth look into three different classroom settings: an 8th grade general education literature and grammar classroom, an 8th grade special education (resource) literature and grammar classroom, and a co-taught 10th grade English classroom. As the Common Core State Standards require more rigorous and deeper understanding of material, the goal of the study is to look specifically into the role of teaching writing genres to students and the acquisition of the genre based on the different teaching strategies and materials used. By teaching students with special needs in the areas of reading and writing, explicit teaching strategies, paired with immersion within the rhetorical genre and teaching writing as a process, aided students in a basic understanding of the genre. In other classroom settings, explicit teaching and teaching writing as a process assisted students in acquiring the genres according to the standards. Using observations of teaching strategies, student writing samples, teaching reflections, and teacher and student questionnaires, teachers indicate their concerns within the lack of preparation for the continuing changes within the curriculum. Suggestions for making improvements in writing curriculum, teaching genres utilizing Common Core Standards, teaching genres across content-areas, and professional development opportunities are explored within the conclusion section.