Written Assignments

Download a print copy of the syllabus

Written Assignments:

  1. Personal Statement: Sociology of your education – Grad school programs often assign a personal statement of 500-1000 words. Here, expand on our writing in class to sociologically reflect on your own educational experiences. What questions does this lead you to ask about education?
  1. Blog post on your experience of school choice, posted to our class wordpress site 500-1000 words (2-5 pages double spaced pages), a reflection on school choice based on your experience as a hypothetical Hartford/New Haven parent choosing a school, and your broader knowledge of the New Haven or Hartford school choice process and the larger theoretical debate around school choice.

A tutorial on blogging using wordpress is available here thanks to Professor Dougherty.

Here are some sample education blogs for you to check out

  1. Jonathan Plucker, Evaluating CT’s school choice program
  2. Diane Ravitch, TFA Responds to NYTimes story
  3. Robert Cotto, Vizualizing Diversity in CT’s school choice programs
  4. Wesleyan student Sara Simoneil, Smaller Classes, shorter summers
  5. Wesleyan student Ben Kafogolis, Improving Teacher Quality

Your blog will be graded on

  • quality and persuasiveness of writing
  • clear main argument
  • use of vivid evidence (observations from field trip, evidence from school choice promotional materials, evidence from school choice readings)
  • written organization, proofreading
  • citations if relevant

 FINAL PAPER (6,000 words, or 25 pages) posted to our class wordpress site, based on any one of the following options, depending on your stage of study and your aims for the semester:

Research Paper Topic

A. A topic of your choosing.

B. Examine the school choice program in another large city. Assess strengths and weaknesses to choice in this city.

C. Is it still necessary to insist that schools are racially desegregated?

D. Detail a reform measure that could be taken to respond to a particular policy in American education.

E. Write a proposal for education social action – it could be a number of things: a teacher pipeline, a model of a new kind of school, a grassroots campaign to change public perception about an issue. Dream big and be specific.

Research Paper Assignments

  1. Final paper prospectus (300 words) including
  • Research Question
  • Relevance of Topic
  • Methodology & Research Strategy (what kind of information you will collect, and how you will collect it and how you will analyze it)
  • Initial Sources

for some ideas, check out the following student samples from the Trinity 2014 Education 300 class: Evan Turiano &  Ada Chai

  1. Introduction and 10 sources (4-7 pages)
  2. Literature Review (3-6 pages)
  3. Rough Draft (6000 words or 25 pages)
  4. Final Draft (6000 words or 25 pages)

Papers will be evaluated on the following criteria:

1.) The student poses a thought-provoking, researchable question (or hypothesis) and explains its significance to educational policy.
2.) The student connects the question to the existing research literature (secondary sources) and moves beyond into new territory.
3.) The student identifies and uses the most appropriate primary sources and research methods for his or her study.
4.) The student presents a clear and insightful thesis that directly addresses the research question (or hypothesis).
5.) The student’s thesis is persuasive: supported with convincing evidence and analysis.
6.) The student’s paper is well-organized, and includes sufficient background for audiences unfamiliar with the topic.
7.) The student cites sources in an acceptable format so that future readers may easily locate them.
8.) The student follows ethical guidelines for research.

Research and References: Please use American Sociological Association (ASA) Style for formatting for your bibliography.  If you use a reference software, select the “American Journal of Sociology” on EndNote or another reference software.

Make sure each draft is clearly labeled as a draft (#), and has page numbers.