Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Lucas Lima de Vasconcelos


Strong writing skills are an essential element in all areas of life. Written communication is pervasive in both daily life and the workplace. Yet nationwide studies reveal that many students in America graduate from high school with insufficient writing skills. Studies on writing instruction suggest that a shift to teaching writing as a process rather than a product, presentation of quality individualized, focused feedback, and teaching of metacognitive writing skills can help improve writing skills in high school students. The purpose of this mixed methods action research was to determine how the supplemental use of face-to-face writing conferences combined with digital Google Classroom instruction in a blended learning environment impacts the writing and self-regulated learning skills of high school students. This study focused on two central research questions 1) How does the supplemental use of writing conferences in a blended learning setting with digital Google Classroom instruction affect the writing skills of high school students? and 2) How do supplemental writing conferences in a blended learning environment with digital Google Classroom instruction affect students’ self-regulated learning skills?

This study incorporated the use of blended learning using Highlight Tool and Google Classroom to develop a blended learning environment for an academic writing unit based on the South Carolina College and Career Readiness Standards for English. Data collection included several data sources. A teacher-made pre- and post-assessment was used to measure impact on writing skills. The Self-Regulation Formative Questionnaire was used as a pre- and post-survey. Student interviews offered further insight into assessment and survey data. Data were analyzed using a mixed methods approach using descriptive statistics, paired samples t-tests, and the Wilcoxon Signed Rank test to evaluate quantitative data. Thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. The study involved 21 participants enrolled in English 2. Findings indicate that gains in application of writing skills between the pre- and post-assessment were statistically significant. While qualitative data suggests participants also showed gains in self-regulated learning skills, especially in goal-setting and task-analysis skills, increases between the pre- and post-survey were not statistically significant. Recommendations and implications for future practice and research are presented.