Writing Tutoring in Higher Education: An Exploratory Study on the Effectiveness of Directive and Nondirective Tutoring
AuthorSugino, Nicole Emiko
Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractWriting academic papers continues to be a struggle for college students. Many universities provide tutoring services for a range of academic subjects including writing. Currently, there are few experimental studies to support the effectiveness of two frequently used tutoring methods: directive and nondirective tutoring. Based on existing knowledge about the acquisition of written language, this study aims to determine if directive (expert-directed) tutoring is more effective than nondirective (student-directed) tutoring in improving students' writing skills. In addition, this study sought to determine if changes in macrostructure and microstructure correlated to instructor assigned grades. Participants were recruited from undergraduate courses that included an initial paper and a revised final paper. Participants who chose 30-min of free tutoring were randomly assigned to one of the tutoring conditions: expert-directed (ED) or student-directed (SD). Participants who did not choose to receive tutoring were allocated to the control condition. There were 16 participants: ED group [n=7], SD group [n=7], and control group [n=2]. A descriptive analysis on measures of microstructure, paragraph structure, overall rating, and instructor assigned grades for the initial and final paper was conducted for 6 participants: ED group [n=2], SD group [n=2], and control group [n=2]. On measures of microstructure, the ED group decreased the average number of errors, the SD group maintained the same number of errors, and the control group increased the number of errors. Both the ED and SD tutoring groups decreased the average number of internal paragraph structure errors, while the control group maintained the same number of errors. All three groups received an increase in average overall rating; however, the control group received the smallest increase. All three groups received a comparable increase in average instructor assigned grade. The preliminary results suggest that tutoring is beneficial compared to no tutoring. Furthermore, there does not appear to be a relation between changes in the measures used in this study (microstructure, paragraph structure, overall rating) and instructor assigned grades. Further examination on whether directive tutoring is more effective than nondirective is required. The theories supporting directive tutoring (i.e. writing development, Vygotsky's zone of proximal development, learning theory) suggest that this method would be more effective than nondirective tutoring. In addition, research into the relation between grades and changes in macrostructure and microstructure is warranted.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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