A course in transition: achieving student success by addressing the lack of reading and writing proficiency at the graduate level

First semester graduate students are expected to write with technical proficiency; yet many do not have the necessary skills and writing competency to achieve this expectation (Singleton-Jackson & Lumsden, 2009). Over the past five years, students enrolled in their first semester in the Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education program at California State University, Northridge were becoming less and less successful at meeting the high demands of graduate level work. Therefore, an existing course in language and cognition was modified to meet the needs of first semester students transitioning to graduate school, specifically to provide support and strategies for improving graduate students' reading and writing abilities and strengthening study skills. In this thesis, the planning process, content of the course and assignments will be discussed. A sample of eight first year graduate students will be examined through multiple data sources, such as pre and posttests and written assignments. Additionally, four students will be highlighted in the results to demonstrate individual differences in knowledge and skills and how these students evolved over the course of the semesterlong class. Themes, implications, limitations and future research will also be addressed.