Bridging The Gap Between Theory And Practice: Providing Access To And Engaging Students In Developing Skill In Academic Writing


Spring 2017



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Walter Enloe

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Amy Hewett-Olatunde

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Karen Palmen


The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of An Academic Writing Process curriculum from the perspectives of students and teachers who have experienced its use. This curriculum, designed to help students manage the complex tasks involved in writing for school, identifies and organizes goals and objectives for learning in developmental sequence, provides a step-by-step guide to approach the tasks involved in producing academic papers, and defines specific and measurable outcome criteria that mark the end of each stage of this process to help ensure successful writing outcomes. Curricular and instructional characteristics necessary for learning are presented in a review of cross-domain studies and provide a theoretical foundation for the design of the curriculum and instructional practices central to this study. Data was produced through semi-structured individual interviews of teacher participants who specialize in serving special needs students and who co-taught high school English classes using this curricular writing process, and of student participants who learned and reapplied this academic writing process to multiple essays of various types over the course of their 9th and 10th grade years in English, and who have since graduated from high school. The data that emerged from the voices of the participants were analyzed inductively and synthesized to form the findings of this study. This study found that An Academic Writing Process and the methods of instruction used to implement it effectively motivate students to engage deeply in learning, guide students in successfully managing the complex tasks involved in writing, lead students in developing positive perceptions of learning, and help students in developing improved literacy skills. The purpose of this study is to help improve academic achievement through literacy development. Those who are skilled in academic literacy practices have increased access to educational and employment opportunities and are more able to fully participate in our democracy. An Academic Writing Process is part of a larger and more comprehensive yearlong literacy development curriculum.

Research Methodology

Action Research, Case Study, Curriculum Development, Interview


Achievement, Curriculum, Literacy, Writing

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