, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 256-273

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

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Abstract

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.