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SWCA 2013

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Terese Thonus

on 28 February 2013

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Transcript of SWCA 2013

Satisfying the
course instructor Satisfying the tutor,
the writer,
or both Engaging in
meaningful interaction
about writing
with a peer Creating
better writing Creating
a better writer What is a
? Helping the writer
get a better grade
on his/her project Creating incentives
for a
repeat visit
by the writer Creating incentives
for instructors
to refer
more students to
the writing center Learn more... Identifying writing
skills that are
transferable to
future projects Helping the writer
revise his/her
for the better Researching the
Writing Center:
What We Can Learn

Terese Thonus
University of Kansas Writing Center Scholarship

Evidence-Based =
Replicable +
Aggregable +
Data-supported Appraise writing center theories

Create a firm foundation for practice

"Sit at the head table" (Harris, 2000) KU Writing Center Research:
education Criteria for best practices Research:
education Collaborative &
cooperative learning Bloom (1984) Graesser & Person (1994) Chi, Roy, & Hausemann (2008) Peer tutoring: Effective outcomes
(Maheady, 1998) Increased/improved...
Response opportunities
Frequency of positive social interaction
Self-concept and attitude towards school
Time on task
Opportunity and immediacy of error correction
Increased remediation of learning difficulty
Prevention of academic failure Two studies of the peer tutoring of writing Strijbos et al. (2010)
Teacher or peer feedback more likely to lead to revisions?
No significant correlation between perception of respondents' competence and quality of revision--if writer thought revisions were necessary. SWoRD: Scaffolded Writing and Rewriting in the Disciplines (U. of Pittsburgh)
Feedback from peers is just as valid and facilitative of revision as that of either writing or content instructors. Boylan (2002) Carino & Enders (2001)
Frequency of WC use correlates with writers' confidence as writers and their perception of writing improvement. Kiedaisch & Dinitz (1993):
Are writer and tutor perceptions reliable means of judging success? "Most writing center claims of success are not evidence-based...
The word 'successful' is often used interchangeably with the
word 'effective' in current literature on tutoring."

(Rogers, 2008) Thonus (2001)
Instructors perceive tutors as their surrogates, but also...
"I don't see my job as training tutors." Roberts (1988)
Contrasted classroom-based composition instruction with credit-bearing WC-based instruction
No significant difference in writing quality Morrison & Nadeau (2003)
Students required to use the WC.
Problem: "Self-serving bias" = Writers take credit for their successes but hold others accountable for their failures. Pantoja (2010)
Community college WCs assess success based on student grade outcomes. Problem: Instructors use different measures to assess student writing. Flagel & Bell (2001):
Interaction that treats WC user as student rather than writer (= peer) hinders rather than helps. Godbee (2011):
Intimacy and solidarity are created through troubles-telling and humor
Gaze, body position and gesture.
Potentials for critical social change around race Thonus (1999, 1998, 2008):
Politeness (and its overuse)
Pauses Tutor-centered sessions lead writers to make revisions during the consultation instead of afterwards. Bell (2002) After online tutorials, writers made more surface revisions than those related to rhetorical effect. Writers that approached WC consultations with their own specific goals were more likely to revise and to "compose new sections of their texts." Conflation of concepts:
"better writing" and "better
writer." Measures of writing improvement:
Faigley & Witte (1981) and Witte & Faigley (1981)
McNamara et al. (2010) Henson & Stephenson (2009)
WC users showed significant improvement between first and final drafts as compared to control group. Rogers (2008)
studies difficult
and few causal
possible. Cooper (2010)
Significantly higher GPA and persistence for writers who
used the WC > 10 times vs. matched group who used the WC < 10 times per quarter Davis (1988)
Attitudes towards writing improved 124% among WC users vs.
non-users Writer self-efficacy measures
improved significantly
with WC use Schmidt &
(2012) Compared WC user self- efficacy with writing outcomes; self-efficacy Van Dam (1985)

First-year composition students scored significantly higher if they used the WC. Three or more visits created even higher scores. Calfee (2003)

Community college
writing students scored significantly higher if they used f2f or online WC tutoring. The more WC sessions, the higher the scores. Thonus (2002)
Writer AND tutor satisfaction =
Movements towards solidarity
and symmetrical interpretations. Williams &
Takaku (2011) increased across multiple WC sessions Hewett (2006) Van Horne (2011) What it would take to link WC use with grade outcomes:
Heroic measures within and
across institutions
Full transcript