The final part of this book contains only one short chapter. In general, the ideas put forward constitute the short version of my answer to the original questions I asked myself as a teacher of developmental college students. The long version can be found in Part II.
These answers are the result of a brief period of data gathering and a long period of data analysis, reviewing more and more literature, and a lot of reflection. In part the reason that it took so long was that I had to come to a counterintuitive conclusion that has at most found only echoes in undercurrents in the literature, and use that as my starting point for analysis. I found I could only arrive at an answer by considering academic literacy as a phenomenon in its own right, not as a form of socialization, a function of cognitive skills, or the result of linguistic competencies. Nor were barriers to academic literacy mere artifacts of discrimination, inappropriate assessments, mechanisms for social reproduction, or vacuous literacy norms. Success- in college, I found, was, related to all these factors, identified in so much research on academic literacy over the past few decades, but it was more than just them. It was a system, cocreated by all its human participants to accomplish a variety of sometimes conflicting social purposes. As such, it is interesting in its own right and worth making the effort to understand. In what folkrvs I lay out my conclusions about this system, describe its ideological implications, and make some pedagogical suggestions that arise from this view.