Improving English Learners’ Attitude Towards Writing: Goal-Setting with WIDA CAN DO Descriptors


Fall 11-24-2015



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Jill Watson

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Anne DeMuth

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Heather Ohmann


This project examined the impact of goal-setting on the writing attitude of six third grade English learners with the goal of discovering if attitudes towards writing improve when students meet their writing goals and the degree to which students felt that they meet these goals. Using a pre-test/post-test design, data were collected using the Writing Attitude Survey (WAS) (Kear, Coffmann, McKenna, & Ambrosio, 2000). Additional data were collected in three interactive formats: individual goal-setting conferences where students chose a personal writing goal based on WIDA CAN DO Descriptors (WIDA, 2012), goal-review conferences, and focus groups. By the end of three writing projects, participants had met or partially met their writing goals the majority of the time and scores on the WAS improved. Through the goal conferences and focus groups participants revealed improved attitudes towards writing when writing was purposeful and personally meaningful.

Research Methodology

Case Study


ESL/ ELLs, Writing, Goal-Setting

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