An AP course in English Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers of prose written in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes. Both their writing and their reading should make students aware of the interactions among a writer’s purposes, audience expectations, and subjects as well as the way generic conventions and the resources of language contribute to effectiveness in writing (The College Board, AP English Course Description, May 2007, May 2008).
The goals of an AP English Language and Composition course are diverse because the college composition course is one of the most varied in the curriculum. The college course provides students with opportunities to write about a variety of subjects and to demonstrate an awareness of audience and purpose. But the overarching objective in most first-year writing courses is to enable students to write effectively and confidently in their college courses across the curriculum and in their professional and personal lives. Therefore, most composition courses emphasize the expository, analytical, and argumentative writing that forms the basis of academic and professional communication, as well as the personal and reflective writing that fosters the development of writing facility in any context. In addition, most composition courses teach students that the expository, analytical, and argumentative writing they must do in college is based on reading, not solely on personal experience and observation. Composition courses, therefore, teach students to read primary and secondary sources carefully, to synthesize material from these texts in their own compositions, and to cite sources using conventions recommended by professional organizations such as the Modern Language Association (MLA), the University of
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