Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Kenneth Vogler


This action research study examined 18 high school student-participants’ perceptions of essay writing both with teacher-generated standardized prompts and prompts where students were included in the development of the writing assignment. The students consisted of 12 white females, 2 Asian females, and 4 white males enrolled in an Advanced Placement English Language and Composition class from a rural, southern school located in South Carolina. Quantitative methods were used to determine the impact of the prompts on the students’ motivations for writing essays. Writing samples, surveys and observations comprised the data. Teacher-participants and instructional leaders reflected on the data with the participant-researcher to determine an instructional strategy to implement for the ELA curriculum in the 2017-2018 academic school year. As a group, a large portion of the students mostly felt that they did higher quality work on the writing assignment where the teacher created the writing prompt, but only slightly more students reported that they would rather the teacher-researcher create future writing prompts. A significant amount of students still wished to be included in the formation of the writing prompt. These findings are evident in the Action Plan that includes differentiation of instruction that allows both groups of students to feel successful in their future writing assignments.


© 2017, Henry D. Tindal