Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

First Advisor

William Morris

Abstract

The purpose of this action research study was to evaluate the impact of interactive journaling on the writing self-efficacy, writing performance, and attitudes towards writing of seventh-grade students. According to the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Writing Test, only one-fourth of 8th and 12th graders are proficient at writing. This means thousands of people are entering the job market with inadequate writing skills (U.S. Department of Education, 2014). Research suggests that if people feel more confident in their writing abilities, writing performance will improve. This study was guided by several research questions. First, the study aimed to reveal the impact of interactive journaling on student writing self-efficacy. Second, the impact of interactive journaling on writing performance was evaluated. Lastly, the study assessed the impact of interactive journaling on students’ attitudes towards writing.

Participants for this study were 22 seventh-grade students at a middle school in the Southeast. This study utilized pre-tests for writing self-efficacy, writing performance, and attitudes towards writing. A digital tool called SeeSaw was used to implement interactive journaling as a five-week innovation. Afterward, post-tests for writing self-efficacy, writing performance, and attitudes towards writing were administered. Lastly, participants were interviewed about perceived impacts on writing self-efficacy, writing performance, and attitudes towards writing.

Results from paired-sample t-tests showed no statistically significant differences from pre-tests to post-tests on writing self-efficacy or attitudes towards writing. Wilcoxon Signed-Rank tests were performed on the subsections of writing performance and again, found no statistical significance. However, student interviews revealed that students felt they were better at writing and reported feeling more positive towards writing after having undergone the intervention.

These findings indicate a complex relationship between interactive journaling, writing self-efficacy, writing performance, and attitudes towards writing. Students’ positive views of interactive journaling indicate the potential power it may wield over student writing. However, the lack of significant results in the quantitative measures suggest that more research is needed in this area. Implications and limitations are provided.

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