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Spotlight: The College Preparation Partnership and the Expository Reading and Writing Course

May 2018

How can we ensure that students leave high school ready to succeed in postsecondary pursuits?

Several REL West partnerships are addressing aspects of this question, such as college access and career pathways in rural areas, cross-sector student support, and coursework that facilitates the transition into college. Today, we highlight postsecondary preparation, with an inside look at our College Preparation Partnership with the California State University (CSU) Chancellor’s Office.

Students studing in a classroom

Prompted by the challenge to prepare more students for postsecondary coursework in California and throughout the country, various efforts are underway to develop new courses and supports for students before they get to college. One such effort being developed by California State University (CSU) is the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC), a grade 12 English course designed to better prepare students for college-level English coursework. The ERWC engages students in the in-depth study of expository, analytical, and argumentative reading and writing. REL West has partnered with the ERWC development team at CSU—composed of college English professors, high school English teachers, and literacy specialists—to form the College Preparation Partnership.

Tony Fong, REL West partnership lead for the College Preparation Partnership, recently spoke with Nancy Brynelson, the Co-Director of the Center for the Advancement of Reading at the CSU Chancellor’s Office, about the development of the ERWC and what they hope to achieve through the partnership.

In the interview, you’ll hear Nancy describe how the ERWC is designed to develop students’ skills in reading and writing in ways that will prepare them for college-level coursework. She and Tony then look ahead to what they hope to learn through REL West’s examination of data related to the ERWC and how the partnership plans to improve support for teachers who are using the ERWC in their classrooms.

Listen now:

Audio Interview Transcript: The Expository Reading and Writing Course: Preparing Students for Postsecondary Success

What’s next for the College Preparation Partnership? They’re hard at work on an upcoming research study about the ERWC, entitled “Understanding the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC) Offerings and Enrollments in California High Schools.” Check out a description on the Work in Progress page and keep an eye out for the full report, expected later this year.


Looking for other work on postsecondary preparation while you wait for the ERWC study? These resources are available now: