Iterative writing programs may generate higher student confidence about their ability to write, but not necessarily improved writing ability
Keywords: Assessment, feedback, scientific literacy, academic language and learning, graduate attributes
AbstractStudent writing proficiency is considered to be a hallmark of educational excellence. This study reports on an iterated writing skills development program, incorporating elements of content, form and context, for science undergraduates. The program, which was initiated in first year biology and then iterated through a second year science unit, investigated student confidence about their writing and writing-related skills, and the correlation with actual writing ability in terms of an annotated bibliography and a literature review. Other things being equal, commencing second year students who had completed two first year essays had significantly higher confidence regarding five of the seven skills examined in this study, compared to students who had not. Further, upon completion of the unit, the level of confidence was still significantly higher with regard to four of these seven skills. However, there was no significant difference in marks for both second year writing tasks between students who had or had not completed the first year essays. This study demonstrates the considerable value that iterated writing cycles, including feedback and opportunities for revision, have on student perceptions of their writing and writing-related skills. However, students may be overestimating their actual ability to write in a scientific domain, given an apparent disconnect between their self-perceived ability and their actual marks for the assignments. Clearer instruction about increasing task difficulty, together with assessment and writing guidelines from unit coordinators and ALL staff, are required to better inform students so that their perceptions and actual writing abilities are more strongly aligned.
How to Cite
RaynerG., PapakonstantinouT., GleadowR., & AbbottK. (2014). Iterative writing programs may generate higher student confidence about their ability to write, but not necessarily improved writing ability. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 8(2), A60-A71. Retrieved from https://journal.aall.org.au/index.php/jall/article/view/299
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