Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


Dr. Joan Mignerey


This report describes a program for improving the writing performance of junior high school students in an urban school with a diverse student population. The problem noted was that student performance had been declining in the area of writing, both in content as measured by the California Assessment Program, and in the correct usage of writing conventions as measured by the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills. Classroom observations and teacher interviews indicated that there was no consistency of instruction in the English Department's writing program, either between classes within the same grade level or between grade levels. The range of writing instruction varied widely, with some teachers employing prewriting discussions, drafting, writing, and revision while others assigned no more than short answer worksheets. Solution procedures included developing departmental objectives for the reaching of writing; publishing a school pamphlet on rules of form, grammar, and punctuation; developing writing lessons based on the department's core literature list; and instituting a school-wide, holistically-scored, writing program. Mid-project assessments indicated that students in all grade levels were making steady progress in both the content of the essays as well as their understanding of the conventions of writing. All teachers in the English Department were assigning at least full paragraphs on a weekly basis, and the number of teachers outside the English Department who were assigning full essays had increased by ten. By project end, students had demonstrated increased proficiency as projected in the ability to write as measured by locally devised tests, test results from the California Writing Proficiency Examination, and test results from the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills.

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