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Title:A regional survey of writing in six subject areas in colleges and universities accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Author(s):Whitis, Judith Davidson
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Madsen, A.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Education, Higher
Abstract:This study investigated the nature and frequency of writing tasks undertaken by students in colleges and universities granting bachelor's degrees in institutions accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. A sample of seventy-five institutions was drawn, and surveys were mailed to "good" instructors in six major subjects areas--biology, economics, foreign language, freshman writing, history, and mathematics. The response rate of the survey was 309/450 or 69.0% with each of the six subject areas recording response rates exceeding 60.0%. Questions on the survey were grouped into categories that related to the study's ten research questions: (1) class and instructor characteristics, (2) writing and related activities, (3) reasons for writing, (4) longer writing assignments, (5) intellectual uses of writing, (6) teaching techniques, (7) audiences for student writing, (8) responses to student writing, (9) length of writing assignments, (10) time allowed for writing assignments. The survey also included a section in which respondents answered questions and expressed their views on student writing.
Overall, results indicated that writing occurs across subject areas in colleges, most frequently in the forms of note-taking, discursive writing of a paragraph or longer, and short-answer responses. College instructors stress application of subject area concepts and subject area information more than development of writing skills and personal experience. Informational uses of writing dominate student writing with personal and imaginative uses occurring infrequently. Prewriting, writing and revising, and postwriting techniques are used only sparingly in content classes. College instructors' responses are related to students' thinking processes, accuracy of conclusions, and organization. Subject area instructors accept joint responsibility with freshman writing instructors for teaching students to write, and they feel adequately prepared to do it. Most college instructors have not heard of the writing process movement, but most have heard of the writing across the curriculum movement.
Additional conclusions are drawn and recommendations are made. Results are related to work done by Albert Kitzhaber and Arthur Applebee.
Appendices contain information on the Kitzhaber Study, the North Central Association, a population list, a sample list, the survey questionnaire, sample follow-up letters, and a sample codebook. Twenty tables and nineteen figures are included in the text.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Whitis, Judith Davidson
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9211031
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9211031

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