EFFECTS OF AN EXPLICIT ASSIGNMENT ON TASK IDENTIFICATION
IN COLLEGE STUDENTS WITH WRITING DIFFICULTIES
Schwilk, Christopher L
Doctor of Philosophy
Date of Defense:
December 07, 2009
Dr James Mc Afee, Dissertation Advisor/Co-Advisor James Kenneth Mcafee, Committee Chair/Co-Chair Kathy L Ruhl, Committee Member David Brent Mcnaughton, Committee Member Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
Understanding writing assignments is critical to college students’ success as they transition from high school to postsecondary environments, but students with writing difficulties struggle to extrapolate required tasks from assignments presented in narrative form. The researcher examined the ability of students to identify assignment tasks when given a traditionally presented (narrative) writing assignment versus an explicitly stated (bulleted) writing assignment. Participants were 78 community college students with identified writing difficulties in developmental English classes. This paper delineates possible reasons why participating students who were given the explicitly stated assignment generated a higher identification and correct sequencing of explicit tasks, while students given the traditionally presented narrative assignment identified a higher number of additional writing tasks. This research supports the principles of effective instruction and suggests that providing an explicitly stated complete list of required tasks to students with writing difficulties may increase their ability to successfully complete college writing assignments. Discussion concludes with amplifications, limitations, and recommendations for future research.