A Matter of Degrees: an Evaluation of Instructor Concept of Writing Effectiveness in an Adult Accelerated Degree Completion Program

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Title: A Matter of Degrees: an Evaluation of Instructor Concept of Writing Effectiveness in an Adult Accelerated Degree Completion Program
Author: Tillett, Tanya R
Advisors: Chris M. Anson, Committee Chair
Ann M. Penrose, Committee Member
John Morillo, Committee Member
Abstract: Most modern theories of responding to student writing typically advocate a meaning-centered, whole text holistic approach (as opposed to an analytic mode of response, which allows for the separate evaluation of different criteria). In a holistic assessment, certain criteria may be considered together on one descriptive scale, which renders a final assessment that allows for broader judgments on the quality of particular writing products. As a result, a holistic assessment is usually not quite as rigid as an analytic assessment. This study examined a non-traditional writing program that was highly traditional in its emphasis on stressing the rules of writing mechanics (an analytic method). It specifically focused on instructor familiarity with the program's required citation format. My research questions: how well would instructors score if given the task of finding deliberately inserted errors? What is instructor perception of format in writing evaluation? And, what, if any, influence does instructor training and experience have on the ability to apply citation format? In addition to being asked to detect 33 deliberately inserted errors in documentation format in a typical student paper, ten instructors at the program, an adult accelerated degree completion program, were also asked to complete a demographic survey. As predicted, except for two notable exceptions, average instructor scores were low (68%). In the follow-up survey, most indicated that they were satisfied with the program's required APA citation format, and finally, neither length of experience nor discipline-specific training proved to be significant factors in the average of the instructors' scores. As part of the project, the program's director and the two highest scorers (an English instructor and an accounting instructor) were interviewed to gain insight into how writing requirements fit into the program's overall curriculum. The director of the program felt that stressing the importance of documentation format helped provide the students in the program with a solid academic grounding. And, despite my intuitive notion that the English instructor would provide the most insightful views on how to promote better student writing, it was the accounting instructor who provided the most helpful feedback (which included a recommendation for the use of other documentation styles in the program). It is hoped that this study offers implications for more in-depth study of instructor response to actual student writing, and more study of other non-traditional writing programs.
Date: 2003-01-24
Degree: MA
Discipline: English
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/2504


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