Original Paper

Journal of Behavioral Education

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 256-273

First online:

Differential Daily Writing Contingencies and Performance on Major Multiple-Choice Exams

  • Briana HautauAffiliated withThe University of Tennessee
  • , Haley C. TurnerAffiliated withThe University of Tennessee
  • , Erin CarrollAffiliated withThe University of Tennessee
  • , Kathryn JaspersAffiliated withThe University of Tennessee
  • , Megan ParkerAffiliated withThe University of Tennessee
  • , Katy KrohnAffiliated withThe University of Tennessee
  • , Robert L. WilliamsAffiliated withThe University of TennesseeDepartment of Educational Psychology and Counseling, The University of Tennessee

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On 4 of 7 days in each unit of an undergraduate human development course, students responded in writing to specific questions related to instructor notes previously made available to them. The study compared the effects of three writing contingencies on the quality of student writing and performance on major multiple-choice exams in the course. The three contingencies were (1) receiving credit for all writing products each unit, (2) receiving credit for one randomly selected writing product each unit, and (3) receiving no credit for any writing product each unit. On all dimensions of exam performance, writing for daily credit produced higher scores than did writing for random credit and writing for no credit. The daily-writing contingency also produced the highest writing ratings across all units; the writing for random credit produced the next highest writing scores; and the writing for no credit yielded the lowest writing scores. Across all three contingencies, writing scores were highly correlated with performance on multiple-choice exams.


Writing contingencies Multiple-choice exams College instruction