You say that, but my recollection is that you've said your school was pretty highly-ranked and sent a lot of people to college. I realize that there's a difference between sending somebody to college and preparing them to succeed, but in Bayesian terms I'm assigning a high prior probability that most of the people in the upper tiers of your class were able to pass Composition 101 at half-way decent colleges and universities. You may or may not have kept in close contact with a lot of your HS classmates, but at the very least I doubt that you have many stories of people washing out.Jadagul wrote:That's not what was going on at my school, either. My school was "this is all you need for standardized tests and college entrance exams." Our English classes were mostly PSAT prep--enough so that we did math practice in the English classes sometimes.
It was effective at test prep. Not that effective at teaching English.
Maybe your school didn't actively prepare people for college writing classes, but maybe the upper tier of your HS didn't need much prep, and at the very least the school didn't do anything that got in the way. If nothing else, reading a lot and improving one's vocabulary (which is good for standardized tests) are good for improving writing. If you don't have a good vocabulary you'll produce papers with a lot of the non-standard usages that my colleagues and I see. If you read a lot, you'll (hopefully) absorb some good examples by osmosis. At the very least it wouldn't hurt.
Even just requiring people to produce one good page that covers an idea in adequate depth is a form of writing instruction, if that page limit is enforced and essays with inadequate development get poor grades. It forces a certain amount of thought and revising prior to the assignment. It might not have been as intensive as what Number 6 got, but it was probably better than you think.