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Do Students’ Beliefs About Writing Relate to Their Writing Self-Efficacy, Apprehension, and Performance? Joanne Sanders-Reio, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "Do Students’ Beliefs About Writing Relate to Their Writing Self-Efficacy, Apprehension, and Performance? Joanne Sanders-Reio, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 Do Students’ Beliefs About Writing Relate to Their Writing Self-Efficacy, Apprehension, and Performance? Joanne Sanders-Reio, Ph.D.

2 Outline of This Presentation Context of this research line Introduction to beliefs about writing The current study Related studies

3 Context of This Research Line Testing instructional strategies I learned as a professional writer/editor and used as a corporate trainer Did they really work? Would expert writing/editing practices work in an academic setting?

4 Beliefs About Writing Social cognitive theory has established the importance of beliefs, especially self-efficacy beliefs, which are Related to performance in various domains Inversely related to apprehension Beliefs about writing reflect one’s views about What good writing is What good writers do Distinct from writing self-efficacy beliefs

5 “The knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs that students hold about writing play an important part in determining how the composing process is carried out and what the eventual shape of the written product will be.” Graham et al. (1993, p. 246, emphasis added ) “Filters leading students to represent the task of…writing to themselves in a particular way” with the various models of writing created by these beliefs leading to ‘different engagement patterns.’” Mateos et al. (2010, p. 284) This research line investigates the relation of beliefs about writing to Writing performance Writing self-efficacy and apprehension

6 Review of the Literature & Conceptual Framework

7 Beliefs About Writing Palmquist & Young, 1992 Examined the belief that writing is an innate skill that some have and others lack Undergraduates who believed in the innateness of writing skills were More apprehensive about writing Gave lower assessments of their own writing skills, abilities, and work “The belief [in innateness] itself may contribute to the students’ apprehension about writing.” (p. 151)

8 Silva & Nicholls, 1993 Studied the beliefs underlying six traditions of teaching writing 1) Personal involvement, 2) Writing for understanding, 3) Mechanical correctness, 4) Collaboration, 5) Cognitive strategies, 6) Models of good writing Developed two genre-neutral scales Characteristics of good writing espoused by each tradition Writing strategies that emerged from each tradition Second-order PCA of the resulting components yielded four emphases Personal meaning and enjoyment of words Recursive approach fostering understanding Focus on audience and strategies Surface correctness and form Students beliefs reflected the pedagogy of their teachers, suggesting that these beliefs may be socially constructed

9 White & Bruning, 2005 Examined two independent beliefs adapted from Schraw & Bruning’s (1996, 1999) studies of beliefs about reading Transmission Writing is a means of reporting what authorities think Writers stick to established information and arguments Transaction Writers should be emotionally and cognitively engaged Writing helps one deepen one’s understanding of the concepts one writes about as well as one’s own views Those with high Transmission beliefs received lower writing grades Transmission not related to self-efficacy or apprehension Transaction beliefs positively related to writing self-efficacy but not apprehension

10 Mateos et al., 2010 Studied White & Bruning’s (2005) Transmission and Transaction beliefs in conjunction with Schommer- Aikens’s/Perry’s (2004) epistemic beliefs Transmission Negatively related to academic achievement Positively related to Simple Knowledge ( knowledge is comprised of discrete facts, not complex, conceptual structures ) Transaction Positively related to academic achievement Negatively related to Simple Knowledge, Fixed Ability ( intelligence is fixed, not malleable ), and Quick Learning ( learning occurs immediately or not at all ) Suggested that constellations of beliefs may work in tandem

11 Two Additional Beliefs Audience Orientation Research Literature Silva & Nicholls (1993) Those using deep as opposed to surface approaches have a stronger sense of audience (e.g., Lavelle, 1993) Research emphasizing discourse communities (e.g., Beach & Frederick, 2006) Research from Writing and Rhetoric (e.g., Miller & Charney, 2008) Kellogg’s Model of Writing Development (2010) Practice Literature Mindsets and procedures of professional writers and editors Technical writing texts

12 Recursive Process Research Literature Silva & Nicholls (1993) Process model of writing (Hayes & Flower, 1980) Practice Literature “Writing is rewriting.” (Murray, 1991, p. vii) “Rewriting is the essence of writing.” (Zinsser, 1976, p. 4)

13 Kellogg’s Model of Writing Development Based on Cognitive Load Theory Expertise Theory Bereiter & Scardamalia’s (1987) model of writing development

14 Bereiter & Scardamalia proposed a two-stage theory 1.Knowledge Tellers—Record what they know about a topic primarily as their ideas occur to theme 2.Knowledge Transformers—Are aware of the discrepancies between what they intended to write and what their text actually says. Revise to bridge those gaps. Refine their understandings and rethink their ideas as they work. Kellogg added a third stage 3.Knowledge Crafters—Tailor their work to an audience that is richly represented in their minds.

15 Differences between the stages Cognitive Load The number of perspectives and representations writers at different stages maintain as they work Demands on working memory and central executive functioning Knowledge Tellers have one main perspective, their own. They have only a tenuous grasp of what their manuscript actually says Knowledge Transformers consider two perspectives, their ideal text and their actual manuscript Knowledge Crafters juggle three rich and stable representations of their work: their ideal paper, their actual text, and the text as they think their readers will understand it Focus Knowledge Tellers—Themselves Knowledge Transformers—Text Knowledge Crafters—Audience

16 Writers move from stage to stage only after many of their writing skills have become fluid and their ability to represent their text in its ideal and actual forms is well developed and stable. It thus takes writers roughly 10 years to master each of the first two stages. Only experts and those who write extensively reach Stage 3, normally not before adulthood and then in only a few genres. Kellogg defined stages but did not see them as entirely discrete. Writers in Stage 1 may have some conception of their audience, but it would be sketchy and unstable.

17 Beliefs About Writing and Kellogg’s Model Stage 1. Knowledge Telling Transmission Stage 2. Knowledge Transforming Transaction Recursive Process Stage 3. Knowledge Crafting Audience Orientation

18 Writing Self-Efficacy One’s beliefs about one’s own writing skills Positively related to writing performance and negatively related to writing apprehension in more than 30 years of research with students ranging from 4 th graders to undergraduates (e.g., Bruning, Graham, Schunk, Zimmerman) Correlations between with writing performance have ranged from 0.03 (Pajares & Johnson, 1994) to 0.83 (Schunk & Swartz, 1993), clustering around 0.35. The first generation of writing self-efficacy scales emphasized mechanical writing skills (e.g., Meier et al., 1984) The second generation of measures also addressed substantive writing skills (e.g., Pajares & Valiante, 1999) and writing self-regulation (Zimmerman & Bandura, 1994)

19 Writing Apprehension Traditionally defined as fear and avoidance of having one’s written worked evaluated (Daly & Miller, 1975) This traditional measure does not include a possible additional source of writing apprehension—anxiety about making mechanical errors (Smith et al., 2006) Negatively related to writing performance Correlations between writing apprehension and writing performance have ranged from -0.28 (Meier et al, 1984) to -0.57 (Pajares & Johnson, 1994) Negatively related to writing self-efficacy In the Pajares group’s path analyses, writing self-efficacy reduced and even nullified writing apprehension (e.g., Pajares & Valiante, 1997)

20 Purpose of the Study Research Questions and Hypotheses

21 Purpose of the Study 1.Augment White & Bruning’s (2005) work with Transmission and Transaction by adding two additional beliefs about writing, Audience Orientation and Recursive Process 2.Combine and expand existing measures of Writing Self- Efficacy to include self-efficacy for both substantive and mechanical writing skills as well as writing self-regulation 3.Expand Daly & Miller’s (1975) measure to include apprehension about making mechanical errors

22 1. What are the relations among beliefs about writing, self-efficacy, apprehension, and performance? Hypothesized that… a)Transaction, Recursive Process, and Audience Orientation would relate significantly and positively to self-efficacy and performance, and negatively to apprehension b)Transmission would relate significantly and negatively to performance and self-efficacy, and positively to apprehension c)All three types of writing self-efficacy would significantly and positively relate to performance, and negatively to apprehension d)All three types of writing apprehension would significantly and negatively relate to performance

23 2. What are the unique contributions of beliefs about writing, self-efficacy, and apprehension to performance? Hypothesized that… a)Transaction, Recursive Process, and Audience Orientation would significantly and positively predict performance b)Transmission would significantly and negatively predict performance c)All three types of writing self-efficacy would significantly and positively predict performance d)All three types of writing apprehension would significantly and negatively predict performance e)The beliefs about writing would explain variance in performance above and beyond that accounted for by self- efficacy and apprehension

24 Method

25 Participants 738 undergraduates at a large, research-intensive, Hispanic- serving public university south Florida 86% women 68% Hispanic, 16% white, 11% black, 2% Asian Mostly juniors (68%) and seniors (24%) Family background 88% of their fathers and 91% of their mothers had graduated from high school 32% of their fathers and 32% had graduated from college 14% of their fathers and 13% of their mothers held an advanced degree First language—37% Spanish, 31% English, 3% other, 28% raised bilingually

26 Measures Beliefs About Writing Survey (Sanders-Reio, 2010) Subscales Transmission, α =.65 The most important reason to write is to report what authorities think about a subject. Transaction, α =.78 Writing helps me understand what I’m thinking about. Recursive Process, α =.72 Writing is a process of reviewing, revisioning, and rethinking. Audience Orientation, α =.85 Development, Clarity, Organization, Argumentation, Logic, Ability to read an audience Good writers anticipate and answer their audience’s questions.

27 Writing Self-Efficacy Index (Sanders-Reio, 2010) Based on Zimmerman and Bandura’s (1994) Writing Self- Regulatory Efficacy Scale of 25 items Added questions addressing substantive and mechanical writing issues Participants indicated their self-efficacy by making a hash mark on a 10-mm line marked 1 to 100 Subscales Substantive, α =.98 Development, Argumentation, Organization, Ability to meet the needs of the audience I can logically make the points I want to convey. Self-Regulatory, α =.94 Getting started, Keeping oneself going, Being able to get help I can start writing with no difficulty. Mechanical, α =.95 Grammar, Spelling I can correctly punctuate the papers I write.

28 Modified Writing Apprehension Test (Daly & Miller, 1975, Sanders-Reio, 2010) Assesses polar aspects of a single factor, fear and avoidance of having one’s work evaluated as opposed to enjoyment of sharing one’s written work with others 5-point Likert scale Subscales Dislike Writing, α =.92 I expect to do poorly in composition classes even before I enter them. Enjoy Writing, α =.92 I like seeing my thoughts on paper. Apprehension About Grammar, α =.87 I’m afraid that I may make a punctuation error.

29 Writing Performance Students’ grades on a 5- to 8-page, structured, take- home assignment, an analysis of a video about three preschools in light of learning theory As compared to the usual measure in much research and many high-stakes tests (a single sample written in 20 to 30 minutes in response to a prompt) More authentic Emphasizes skill over speed Reduces discrimination against students unfamiliar with the topic Allows students to use a full complement of writing strategies, including revision More in line with the recommendations of writing researchers (e.g., Murphy & Yancey, 2008) and the National Council of Teachers of English (2008)

30 Examination of the Measures Beliefs About Writing Survey Exploratory Factor Analysis Divided the data set into two subsets of equal size (ns = 369) Employed EFA on the first subset to investigate the factor structure and reduce the number of items Used principal-axis factoring and promax rotation because of the hypothesized underlying theoretical structure and our expectation that the factors would correlate The EFA revealed four factors explaining 43% of the variance Audience Orientation Recursive Process Transaction Transmission The items forming Transmission and Transaction were not identical to those used by White and Bruning (2005) Factor intercorrelations ranged from -.10 to.54

31 Confirmatory Factor Analysis Arranged the 31 items identified in the EFA in four empirically identified factors Overall, the goodness-of-fit indicators revealed that the CFA model had an acceptable fit to the data The χ 2 analysis suggested that the data did not fit the model adequately; yet, χ 2 tests have been shown to be especially sensitive to larger sample sizes However, the following indicators indicated an acceptable fit between the data and the model, and thus factorial validity χ 2 /df ratio, 2.31 Root mean square error of approximation,.059 Comparative fit index,.91 Adjusted good-of-fit index,.90

32 Writing Self-Efficacy Index Three components according to both the scree plot and the Kaiser criterion Explained 63% of the variance Substantive Self-Regulatory Mechanical Modified Writing Apprehension Test The three new items formed a new component, Apprehension About Grammar, for a total of three, as indicated by both the scree plot and the Kaiser criterion Explained 56% of the variance Dislike Writing Enjoy Writing Apprehension About Grammar

33 Protocol Participants completed the surveys in 20 to 40 minutes of class time with respect to the writing they do at the university. They took the surveys after they understood the writing assignment, but before they could begin working on it, as Bandura recommended (Pajares, 1997) Students received extra credit for participating. No one refused the opportunity.

34 Results

35 Grades All participants uploaded their papers to to check for plagiarism Two professors, one the actual instructor and another who has taught the course, assigned grades from A to F, including pluses and minuses. The College of Education requires the students to earn at least a C to pass the course. Those who fall short can rewrite. Students had to demonstrate basic competence with respect to the course content and both substantive and mechanical writing skills to pass Interrater agreement between the graders,.93, was calculated via correlational analysis Grades Mean = 8.1 (B-) 30% received an A or A-, 29% earned less than the C required. Correlation between the students’ grade and the grade they predicted they would receive (survey): 0.13


37 Correlation of Beliefs About Writing, Self-Efficacy, and Apprehension with Performance Grade Beliefs About Writing Transmission-.20*** Transaction.01 Recursive Process.12** Audience Orientation.18*** Writing Self-Efficacy Substantive.18*** Self-Regulatory.15*** Mechanical.23*** Writing Apprehension Dislike Writing-.17*** Enjoy Writing.11** Apprehension About Grammar-.26*** Note. N = 738. *p <.05; **p <.01; *** p <.001.

38 Correlations Most Adaptive Belief: Audience Orientation--strongest positive relations with writing grade and writing self-efficacy Belief Most Related to Enjoy Writing: Transaction—Also strongest positive correlate of writing self-efficacy. Did not relate to writing grades. Most Maladaptive Belief: Transmission--negatively related to writing grades and writing self-efficacy. Positively related to Apprehension About Grammar. Correlations between writing self-efficacy and grades were within the range reported in previous research, but somewhat lower than the norm. Apprehension About Grammar had a stronger negative relation to grades than the traditional Dislike Writing.

39 Simultaneous regressions a)Transaction, Recursive Process, and Audience Orientation would positively predict self-efficacy and performance, and negatively predict apprehension—Partially supported, Recursive Process not significant b)Transmission would negatively predict performance and self-efficacy, and positively predict apprehension— Supported, only belief related to Apprehension About Grammar c)All three types of writing self-efficacy would positively predict performance, and negatively predict apprehension— Partially supported, only Mechanical Self-Efficacy related to grades and Apprehension About Grammar d)All three types of writing apprehension would negatively predict performance—Only Apprehension About Grammar was significant


41 Summary Hierarchical Regression Analysis Predicting Writing Performance from Beliefs About Writing, Self-Efficacy, and Apprehension Writing Grade βΔR 2 Step 1. Beliefs About Writing.08*** Transmission-.15*** Transaction-.11** Recursive Process.07* Audience Orientation.19*** Step 2. Writing Self-Efficacy.03*** Substantive.04 Self-Regulatory-.02 Mechanical.09* Step 3. Writing Apprehension.03*** Dislike Writing.01 Enjoy Writing.02 Apprehension About Grammar-.19*** Total R 2.15*** Note. N = 738. *p <.05; **p <.01; *** p <.001.

42 Hierarchical Regression a)Transaction, Recursive Process, and Audience Orientation would significantly and positively predict performance— Audience Orientation the most powerful and adaptive belief, Recursive Process a positive predictor, Transaction a negative predictor here b)Transmission would significantly and negatively predict performance--Supported c)All three types of writing self-efficacy would significantly and positively predict performance—Mechanical Self-Efficacy the only significant predictor d)All three types of writing apprehension would significantly and negatively predict performance—Apprehension About Grammar a strong negative predictor above and beyond all of the beliefs e)The beliefs about writing would explain variance in performance above and beyond that accounted for by self- efficacy and apprehension--Supported

43 Hierarchical Regression The model explained 15% of the variance in writing grades Beliefs about writing explained 8.4% of the variance Each of the four beliefs about writing independently and significantly predicted writing performance. Audience Orientation was the most powerful predictor Audience Orientation and Recursive Process were positive predictors Transmission and Transaction were negative predictors Self-efficacy for Mechanical writing skills was the only significant predictor (positive) Apprehension About Grammar explained variance above and beyond the effects of both beliefs about writing and writing self-efficacy.

44 Discussion

45 Beliefs About Writing Beliefs about writing related to writing self- efficacy, apprehension, and performance Predicted unique variance in writing grades Correlations between beliefs about writing and performance were modest, but meaningful Adhering to a belief does not ensure the skill or will to act on that belief.

46 Audience Orientation The most powerful and adaptive belief Related to expert practice Aligned with classic characteristics of good writing— Development, Clarity, Organization, Argumentation Recursive Process A positive predictor Hypothesize that this belief will be more adaptive with longer assignments held to higher standards, such as dissertations and articles written for publication

47 Transaction A negative predictor here Strong correlate of Enjoy Writing and writing self- efficacy. Enjoyment may be able to keep writers working when extra effort is required Hypothesize that this belief, too, will be more adaptive with longer assignments held to higher standards Transmission Maladaptive Negatively related to self-efficacy and positively related to apprehension, particularly Apprehension About Grammar Can foster a mechanical and/or self-protective approach to writing entailing stringing quotes, plugging new text in set formats, and couching established arguments in new words

48 Writing Self-Efficacy Associated with stronger writing performance and lower writing self-efficacy A more modest predictor than in other studies, but within the range of previous work

49 Writing Apprehension Associated with lower writing grades Apprehension About Grammar accounted for unique variance

50 Implications Theoretical Supports Bandura’s (1997) views about the importance of beliefs Possibility that constellations of beliefs affect performance in tandem Practical Supports the possibility that beliefs about writing could be a worthwhile leverage point in teaching students to write Fewer assignments with more revision cycles Fostering a sense of audience Making sure strategies like using quotes do not deteriorate into mechanical cutting and pasting New methods of teaching grammar and correctness that minimize counterproductive anxiety

51 Future Studies Studies of expert writing practice Related refinement of Kellogg’s model Instruments Conducting an EFA/CFA of the writing self-efficacy measure Adding items to the Apprehension About Grammar subscale of the Modified Writing Apprehension Test Refining the Beliefs scale Items Additional beliefs Investigations of the mechanisms through which beliefs about writing Affective (apprehension) Cognitive (choice of writing strategies and processes) Research with other types of participants, writing assignments, and contexts Experimental and intervention studies Investigation of the beliefs related to other activities and disciplines

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