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Assessing the Writing Process: Do Writing-Intensive First-Year Seminars Change How Students Write?

Kenneth H. Kolb, Kyle C. Longest and Mollie J. Jensen
Teaching Sociology
Vol. 41, No. 1 (JANUARY 2013), pp. 20-31
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41725577
Page Count: 12
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Abstract

Sociologists and scholars of composition have long argued that in order to get students to improve the quality of what they write, they need to change how they write. Here, the authors assess whether students' participation in writing-intensive first-year seminars leads to changes in their writing process. Data collected via pretest and posttest interviews of 34 students show that writing-intensive seminars help firstyear students become better planners and revisers yet have little effect on the ways that they prewrite and draft. Additionally, students in their first semester of college demonstrate higher order writing processes at the beginning of their seminar than their second-semester counterparts and show more improvement over the course of the semester as well. We analyze the conditions that foster these patterns and suggest that increasing quantitative course requirements (i.e., page counts) may hamper students' ability to adopt qualitatively better writing strategies.

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