The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English - Teacher Education: M.S.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Raymond Philippot

Second Advisor

Rex Veeder

Third Advisor

Joanne Larson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Composition, Teaching, Confidence, Writing Improvement, Education, Writing Confidence, K-12 Students


This thesis describes the research conducted on junior high and high school students' writing attitude and writing confidence. It was conducted in order to shed light on the needs of students as well as what pre-service and veteran teachers need to know when teaching a writing course in order to ensure success of all students in the 21st Century.

The targeted population consisted of 37 eighth, 24 eleventh, and 19 twelfth grade students at a small, rural K-12 school in central Minnesota. The over-arching question this study addresses is what can teachers do to positively affect writing attitude, and what actions help foster a positive, healthy confidence in writing students so they understand the importance of writing in their lives and become prepared 21st century citizens. In schools across America, students are continually losing confidence in their writing and placing less emphasis in learning to write well. This poses a problem for students who want to be successful in the 21st century workforce. The issue of confidence and how it correlates to success became apparent at the school when writing attitudes were affecting-either positively or negatively-the outcomes of students' writing and their futures in higher education and the 21st century workforce. Administrators and teachers alike wanted to know who and what can help students with low levels of confidence increase those levels so they can successfully meet the requirements of being a successful 21st century citizen.

Data were collected through focus group interviews as well as anonymous surveys. This research revealed that students displayed a lack of interest in academic writing, but enjoyed writing for personal pleasure. It also revealed that those who valued writing also felt confident with their abilities to finish writing tasks assigned to them in school.

A review of solution strategies suggested by students as well as researchers suggest that teachers play an important role in developing students' writing confidence. Feedback-especially that given in one-on-one scenariosplays a key role in helping students increase their confidence in their writing as well as their ability to finish the task successfully.

A significant conclusion of this study is that pre-service as well as veteran teachers can implement strategies into the writing classroom in order to be effective teachers who help students develop a positive writing attitude and, therefore, healthy writing confidence that will lead them into higher education and prepare them to be effective 21st century citizens.


I would like to thank Dr. Raymond Philippot for advising me and for always being ever so willing to assist me in this research process. I would also like to thank Dr. Joanne Larson and Dr. Rex Veeder for reading and critiquing my work as well as giving me encouragement, advice, and resources all along the way. I would like to thank my family for always believing in me and enduring my stress and anxiety throughout my years as a graduate student. Lastly, I would like to thank my husband who has calmed, encouraged, and practiced patience with me during the last two years. Your understanding and willingness to take second place to my duties and tasks throughout this time have not and will not ever go unrecognized or forgotten.

Included in

Education Commons