Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Nancy Farnan, PhD; Patricia R. Kelly, PhD; Susan M. Zgliczynski, PhD


analytic assessment, children & youth, education, elementary schools, explicit writing instruction, holistic assesment, low Socio-economic area, reading achievement, sixth grade students, writing achievement, writing samples


The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the effect of explicit writing instruction on sixth grade students' writing growth and achievement as measured by holistic and analytic assessment. This research responds directly to the need for additional research on effective reading and writing instruction (Langer & Allington, 1992; The College Board, 2003). The preponderance of research in writing has been devoted to early writing. Less evidence is available to examine the effect of writing instruction at the sixth grade level. Writing samples from 124 sixth grade students at two elementary schools were used in this study. The two elementary schools were located within one mile of each other, and had similar student populations. Both schools were located in a low socio-economic area. Student writing was assessed both analytically and holistically. One measure of assessing the students' writing progress was based on a five-minute writing sample. Students' writing samples were collected for analytic scoring at the beginning of the research, then once a month for four months. Factors such as fluency, number of sentences, number of words per sentence, number of clauses, clauses per sentence, errors, errors per sentence, as well as punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and spelling were measured in the analytic assessment. Longer writing samples that were holistically scored using a rubric were collected as pre- and post- assessments. This research provides documentation of how explicit writing instruction affected the writing and reading progress of sixth grade students. Specifically two research questions guided this investigation: (a) What is the impact of explicit writing instruction on sixth grade student's writing growth and achievement as measured by holistic and analytic assessments? (b) What effect does explicit writing instruction have on sixth grade students' reading achievement? The findings confirmed that the students who received explicit writing instruction showed significant improvements in writing. Though both groups made significant gains in reading, the difference between the groups was not significant.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access