What do students think about their own writing? Insights for teaching new college writers
Keywords:Writing, process, product, journey, self-efficacy, identity, high school, content analysis
Students face multiple challenges when transitioning from high school to college writing, with new content, audiences, genres, and task expectations. Psychometric researchers have shown that self-efficacy, competency, and affective factors can help or hinder students during this transition, but little previous research examines what students themselves say about their writing and writing experiences. This study analyses the content of 248 essays from first-year composition writers who discussed their writing identities, processes, products, and journeys. Our findings show differences between writers who view themselves positively and negatively. Instructors can use this information to design meaningful prompts, utilize process writing activities, and engage students in meaningful reflection.
Andrade, M. A. and Evans, N. E. (2013) Principles and Practices for Response in Second Language Writing: Developing Self-Regulated Learners. New York: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203804605
Bandura, A. (1986) Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Bazerman, C. (2016) What do sociocultural studies of writing tell us about learning to write? In C. A. MacArthur, S. Graham, and J. Fitzgerald (eds) Handbook of Writing Research (2nd ed.), 11–23. New York: The Guilford Press.
Beaufort, A. (2007) College Writing and Beyond: A New Framework for University Writing Instruction. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt4cgnk0
Beaufort, A. (2012) College writing and beyond: Five years later. Composition Forum 26. Retrieved from http://compositionforum.com/issue/26/college-writing-beyond-php.
Bower, L. L. (2003) Student reflection and critical thinking: A rhetorical analysis of 88 portfolio cover letters. Journal of Basic Writing 22(2): 47–66. https://doi.org/10.37514/JBW-J.2003.22.2.04
Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., and Cocking, R. R. (2000) How People Learn: Brain, Mind Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Brockbank, A. and McGill, I. (2007) Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education. Berkshire, England: McGraw Hill.
Bruning, R. H., and Kauffman, D. F. (2016) Self-efficacy beliefs and motivation in writing development. In C. A. MacArthur, S. Graham, and J. Fitzgerald (eds) Handbook of Writing Research (2nd ed.), 160–173. New York: The Guilford Press.
Bruning, R. and Horn, C. (2000) Developing motivation to write. Educational Psychologist 35: 25–37. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15326985EP3501_4
Bruning, R., Dempsey, M., Kauffman, D. F., McKim, C., and Zumbrunn, S. (2013) Examining dimensions of self-efficacy for writing. Journal of Educational Psychology 105(1): 25–38. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0029692
Butler, D. L. (2003) Structuring instruction to promote self-regulated learning by adolescents and adults with learning disabilities. Exceptionality 11(1), 39–60. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327035EX1101_4
Cohn, J. and Stewart, M. (2016) Promoting metacognitive thought through response to low-stakes reflective writing. Journal of Response to Writing, 2(1), 58–74.
Conover, K., and Daiute, D. (2017) The process of self-regulation in adolescents: A narrative approach. Journal of Adolescence 57: 59–68. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2017.03.006
Cowan, M. (2020) A legacy of grading contracts for composition. Journal of Writing Assessment 13(2). http://journalofwritingassessment.org/article.php?article=150
Daly, J. A. and Miller, M. D. (1975) The empirical development of an instrument to measure writing apprehension. Research in the Teaching of English 9: 242–249. https://doi.org/10.1037/t73755-000
Downs, D. and Wardle, E. (2007) Teaching about writing, righting misconceptions: (Re)envisioning ‘first-year composition’ as ‘introduction to writing studies.’ College Composition and Communication 58(4): 552–584.
Dweck, C. (2006) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House.
Eckstein, G. and Ferris, D. (2018) Comparing L1 and L2 texts and writers in first-year composition. TESOL Quarterly 52(1): 137–162. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.376
Faigley, L., Daly, J. A., and Witte, S. P. (1981) The role of writing apprehension in writing competence and performance. Journal of Educational Research 75(1): 16–21. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220671.1981.10885348
Ferris, D. R. (2018) ‘They said I have a lot to learn’: How teacher feedback influences advanced university students’ views of writing. Journal of Response to Writing 4(2): 4–33.
Ferris, D. and Eckstein, G. (2020) Language matters: Examining the language-related needs and wants of writers in a first-year university writing course. Journal of Writing Research 12(2): 321–364. https://doi.org/10.17239/jowr-2020.12.02.02
Ferris, D., Eckstein, G., and DeHond, G. (2017) Self-directed language development: A study of first-year college writers. Research in the Teaching of English 51(4): 418.
Flavell, J. H. (1976) Metacognitive aspects of problem solving. In L. B. Resnick (ed.) The Nature of Intelligence (pp. 231–236). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Giles, S. L. (2010) Reflective writing and the revision process: What were you thinking? Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing 1: 191–204.
Glaser, B. G, and Strauss, A. L. (1967) The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research. Chicago, Aldine Publishing Company.
Graham, S. (2006) Writing. In P. Alexander and P. Winne (eds) Handbook of Educational Psychology, 457–477. Mahway, NJ: Erlbaum.
Graham, S. and Harris, K. R. (2003) Students with learning disabilities and the process of writing: A meta-analysis of SRSD studies. In L. Swanson, K. R. Harris, and S. Graham (eds) Handbook of Research on Learning Disabilities, 383–402. New York: Guilford Press.
Graham, S. and Perin, D. (2007) A meta-analysis of writing instruction for adolescent students. Journal of Educational Psychology 99: 445–476. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0622.214.171.1245
Harris, K. R. and Graham, S. (2017) Self-regulated strategy development: Theoretical bases, critical instructional development, and future research. In R. Fidalgo, K. R. Harris, and M. Braaksma (eds) Design Principles for Teaching Effective Writing: Theoretical and Empirical Grounded Principles, 1–16). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Editions.
Haswell, R. (1991) Gaining Ground in College Writing: Tales of Development and Interpretation. Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press.
Hutchison, M. A., Follman, D. K., Sumpter, M., and Bodner, G. M. (2006) Factors influencing the self-efficacy beliefs of first-year Engineering students. Journal of Engineering Education 95: 39–47. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2168-9830.2006.tb00876.x
Hyland, K. (2010) Constructing proximity: Relating to readers in popular and professional science. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 9: 116–127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeap.2010.02.003
Igo, B. I., Toland, M. D., Flowerday, T., Song, S. Y., and Kiewra, K. A. (2002) The accuracy of self-efficacy: A comparison of high school and college students. Academic Exchange Quarterly 6: 123–128.
Kellogg, R. T. (2008) Training writing skills: A cognitive developmental perspective. Journal of Writing Research 1(1): 1–26. https://doi.org/10.17239/jowr-2008.01.01.1
Kwok, M., Ganding III, E., Hull, G., and Moje, E. (2016) Sociocultural approaches to high school writing instruction. In C. A. MacArthur, S. Graham, and J. Fitzgerald (eds) Handbook of Writing Research (2nd ed.), 257–271. New York: The Guilford Press.
Leitch, R. and Day, C. (2000) Action research and reflective practice: Towards a holistic view. Educational Action Research 8(1): 179–193. https://doi.org/10.1080/09650790000200108
Lent, R. W., Brown, S. D., Gover, M. R., and Nijjer, S. K. (1996) Cognitive assessment of the sources of mathematics self-efficacy: A thought-listing analysis. Journal of Career Assessment 4(1): 33–46. https://doi.org/10.1177/106907279600400102
MacArthur, C. A., Phillipakos, Z. A., and Ianetta, M. (2015) Self-regulated strategy instruction in college developmental writing. Journal of Educational Psychology 107(3): 855–867. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000011
Mann, K., Gordon, J., and MacLeod, A. (2009) Reflection and reflective practice in health professions education: A systematic review. Advances in Health Science Education 14: Article No. 595. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10459-007-9090-2
McCarthy, P., Meier, S., and Rinderer, R. (1985) Self-efficacy and writing: A different view of self-evaluation. College Composition and Communication 36(4): 465–471. https://doi.org/10.2307/357865
Meier, S., McCarthy, R., and Schmeck, R. (1984) Validity of self-efficacy as a predictor of writing performance. Cognitive Therapy and Research 8: 107–120. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01173038
Milner, H. R. and Hoy, A. W. (2003) A case study of an African American Teacher’s self-efficacy, stereotype threat, and persistence. Teaching and Teacher Education 19(2): 263–276. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0742-051X(02)00099-9
Neuendorf, K. A. (2002) The Content Analysis Guidebook. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Pajares, F. (1996) Self-efficacy beliefs in academic settings. Review of Educational Research 66(4): 543–578. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543066004543
Pajares, F. (2007) Empirical properties of a scale to assess writing self-efficacy in school contexts. Measurement and Evaluation in Counselling and Development 39(4): 239–249. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481756.2007.11909801
Pajares, F. and Johnson, M. J. (1994) Confidence and competency in writing: The role of writing self-efficacy, outcome expectancy, and apprehension. Research in the Teaching of English 28(3): 313–331.
Pajares, F., Johnson, M. J., and Usher, E. L. (2007) Sources of writing self-efficacy beliefs of elementary, middle, and high school students. Research in the Teaching of English 42(1): 104–120.
Palmer, D. H. (2006) Sources of self-efficacy in a science methods course for primary teacher education students. Research in Science Education 36: 337–252. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-005-9007-0
Palmquist, M. and Young, R. (1992) The notion of giftedness and student expectations about writing. Written Communication 9: 137–168. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088392009001004
Sanders-Reio, J., Alexander, P. A., Reio, T. G., and Newman, I. (2014) Do students’ beliefs about writing relate to their writing self-efficacy, apprehension, and performance? Learning and Instruction 33: 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2014.02.001
Schunk, D. (2003) Self-efficacy for reading and writing: Influence of modeling, goal setting, and self-evaluation. Reading and Writing Quarterly 19(2): 159–172. https://doi.org/10.1080/10573560308219
Schunk, D. and Zimmerman, B. (2007) Influencing children’s self-efficacy and self-regulation of reading and writing through modeling. Reading and Writing Quarterly 23(1): 7–25. https://doi.org/10.1080/10573560600837578
Shell, D., Colvin, C., and Bruning, R. (1995) Developmental and ability differences in self-efficacy, causal attribution, and outcome expectancy mechanisms in reading and writing achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology 87(3): 386–398. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-06126.96.36.1996
Strauss, A. L. and Corbin, J. M. (1990) Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Teng, L. S. and Zhang, L. J. (2016) A questionnaire-based validation of multidimensional models of self-regulated learning strategies. Modern Language Journal 100(3): 674–701. https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12339
Thaiss, C., Bräuer, G., Carlino, P., Ganobcsik-Williams, L., and Sinha, A. (2012) Writing Programs Worldwide: Profiles of Academic Writing in Many Places. Anderson, South Carolina: Parlor Press. https://doi.org/10.37514/PER-B.2012.0346
Usher, E. L. and Pajares, F. (2008) Sources of self-efficacy in school: Critical review of the literature and future directions. Review of Educational Research 78(4): 751–796. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654308321456
Wardle, E. and Downs, D. (2020) Writing About Writing: A College Reader (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford St. Martin’s.
Woodrow, L. (2011) College English writing affect: Self-efficacy and anxiety. System 39(4): 510–522. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2011.10.017
Yancey, K. B., Robertson, L., and Tacsak, K. (2014) Writing across Contexts: Transfer, Composition, and Cultures of Writing. Logan: Utah State University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctt6wrr95
Zeldin, A. L. and Pajares, F. (2000) Against the odds: Self-efficacy beliefs of women in mathematical, scientific, and technological careers. American Educational Research Journal 37(1): 215–246. https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312037001215
Zimmerman, B. and Kitsantas, A. (1999) Acquiring writing revision skill: Shifting from process to outcome self-regulatory goals. Journal of Educational Psychology 91(2): 241–250. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-06188.8.131.52
Zimmerman, B. and Kitsantas, A. (2002) Acquiring writing revision and self-regulatory skill through observation and emulation. Journal of Educational Psychology 94(4): 660–668. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-06184.108.40.2060
Zimmerman, B. and Kitsantas, A. (2007) Reliability and validity of self-efficacy for learning form (SELF) scores of college students. Journal of Psychology 215(3): 157–163. https://doi.org/10.1027/0044-3409.215.3.157
Zimmerman, B. and Risemberg, R. (1997) Becoming a self-regulated writer: A social cognitive perspective. Contemporary Educational Psychology 22: 73–101. https://doi.org/10.1006/ceps.1997.0919
Zimmerman, B. J., and Bandura, A. (1994) Impact of self-regulatory influences on writing course attainment. American Educational Research Journal 31: 845–862. https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312031004845
How to Cite
© Equinox Publishing Ltd.
For information regarding our Open Access policy, click here.