Prescribed Curriculum, Literacy, and the Pedagogy of Reading and Writing

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)



Date of Award

Summer 2016


The purpose of my dissertation was to show how standardized testing has been the source of much angst for teachers, students, and parents alike. As such, in some schools and areas, students are failing to meet the minimum guidelines as set forth by the Federal Education Board in reading and writing. It was my assertion that the failure is brought about by the mandates of curriculum boards that require specific curriculum to be taught by its teachers. In turn, the curriculum presents significant challenges for teachers, and then funnels down to students. In doing so, we have seen scores that reflect the deficits these children have in these areas, as well as, their being underprepared, instead of over-prepared when they do attend institutes of higher learning. The study for my dissertation revolved around five sections: Primary materials, Critical Pedagogy, expert opinions, and the statistics of pass rates in reading and writing over the past two decades. The primary materials were actual documents (the lesson plans or curriculum) from a magnet school in Waco, Texas, and followed the common core as practiced by most schools during the 2013-2014 school year in Texas. It broke down each day of each semester in terms of what teachers are mandated to teach, and more importantly, what specific TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) and ELPS (English Language Proficiency Standards) must be covered. Through my dissertation, I used as a lens, both critical pedagogy and current (as well as some past) research in the areas of reading and writing to argue that students all learn differently, how experts argued students learn to read and write, versus the way students have been taught to actually read and write, and the gaps that exist between the two or what the field said “we should be learning”. The core curriculum documents have amplified the need for change at the heart of this issue.


Tabetha Adkins

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature