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Relationships between writing motivation, writing activity, and writing performance: effects of grade, sex, and ability

Abstract

A convenience sample of 618 children and adolescents in grades 4 through 10, excluding grade 8, were asked to complete a writing motivation and activity scale and to provide a timed narrative writing sample to permit an examination of the relationships between writing motivation, writing activity, writing performance, and the student characteristics of grade, sex, and teacher judgment of writing ability. Female students and older students wrote qualitatively better fictional stories, as did students with higher levels of writing ability based on teacher judgment. With respect to writing activity, more frequent writing in and out of school was reported by girls, better writers, and younger students. In a path analysis, grade and sex directly influenced writing activity, while sex, teacher judgment of writing ability, and writing activity directly influenced some aspects of writing motivation. Overall, teacher judgment of writing ability, grade level, and motivational beliefs each exerted a significant direct positive influence on narrative quality, whereas performance goals exerted a significant direct negative impact on quality.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. The WAMS is available from the first author.

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Acknowledgments

This research was supported in part by funding through the Literacy Achievement Research Center (LARC) at Michigan State University.

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Correspondence to Gary A. Troia.

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Troia, G.A., Harbaugh, A.G., Shankland, R.K. et al. Relationships between writing motivation, writing activity, and writing performance: effects of grade, sex, and ability. Read Writ 26, 17–44 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11145-012-9379-2

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Keywords

  • Writing motivation
  • Writing activity
  • Narrative writing