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Academic barriers In Lives on the Boundary


In Lives on the Boundary, Mike Rose writes extensively about many different kinds of barriers that students face on their path to educational attainment. He uses both his personal experience as a student and his observations as a professor interacting with students in various academic settings, such as a fifth grade after-school program, a college tutoring center, a veteran’s program, and an ESL program. Using Rose as our primary source, the third essay will continue this line of thinking about barriers that we have followed all semester.


Below is a list of academic barriers that Rose wrote about in Lives on the Boundary. Pick a barrier to academic success below. If you would like to select a different barrier not on the list, you must clear it with me first:

    1. Marginality of tutor programs and academic support/preparatory programs
    2. Remedial courses
    3. Testing of literacy
    4. The gulf between faculty and students
    5. Loneliness of students
    6. Underprepared students

Once you have selected a barrier from the list above, you will conduct academic research to 1) better understand the barrier and 2) argue for a solution or solutions to the barrier that will help community college students better achieve academic success.


  1. The essay must include an introduction with a thesis, PIE body paragraphs with topic sentences that support and develop the thesis, and a conclusion.
  2. Body paragraphs must include clear signal phrases with appropriate quotes, paraphrases, and/or summaries and correct citations (both in-text and a Works Cited page).
  3. The essay must include a counterargument.
  4. The minimum page length for this essay is 6 full pages long (with one line onto the top of the seventh page). The maximum page limit for this essay is 7 pages. The Works Cited page does not count towards the page length.
  5. The essay must include the following sources:
    1. Two sources must be articles from ECC’s library database.
    2. Two sources must be credible websites, appropriate for academic use.
    3. One source must be a book, anthology, or textbook (this does not include LB).
  6. The following sources are required:
    1. Mike Rose’s Lives on the Boundary
    2. Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum’s “Channeling Students’ Energies Toward Learning”
    3. Rebecca Cox’s “Student Fear Factor”


Your audience for this essay is your instructor and ECC instructors and administrators who are in charge of creating solutions to help students achieve academic success. Your job is to persuade ECC instructors and administrators that your solution(s) is effective.




Essay 3 Rubric



High Pass Pass Low Pass No Pass

1.      The thesis is relevant, focused, and debatable.

2.      It is located at the end of the introduction.

3.       In addition, the thesis effectively controls the essay.





1.      Overall essay structure is clear, logical, and easy to read; body paragraphs are organized in logical order so a reader can understand overall argument.

2.      Body paragraphs are logically organized in the PIE format with one main idea each clearly connected to the thesis statement.

Development of Ideas/Analysis

1.      Body paragraphs have clear topic sentences that logically support the thesis statement.

2.      Explanation/analysis is insightful, in-depth, and follows the topic sentence and thesis statement.

3.      The development of ideas is sufficient to fully explore the topic within the page length requirement.

4.      The essay includes an objective, fair, and respectful counterargument in a logical place in the essay.




Use of sources

1.      The essay includes the correct number and types of required sources.

2.      Sources are incorporated seamlessly into the text with grammatically correct signal phrases and correct in-text citations.

3.      Quotations are exceptionally well chosen; they are relevant and support the main idea of a paragraph.

4.      Summary, paraphrase, and quoting skills are used effectively to attribute ideas to the author and to avoid plagiarism.

  MLA Format 

The final draft has correct MLA format and includes a correctly formatted Works Cited page.

  Mechanics, Usage, and Grammar

Consistently clear, complete sentences with virtually no sentence-level errors that distract the reader or distort the essay’s meaning.  A reader can easily understand the writer’s ideas.