Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Karen Burke, CSJ, EdD

Second Advisor

Jessica Galbraith, EdD

Third Advisor

Janice Jordan, PhD


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) and gender on secondary students’ argument writing achievement scores. The study was conducted at a secondary school in one suburban Northeastern school district over a 10-week period from March to June 2015. The sample of convenience included male and female students of various abilities (n = 175) and English teachers (n = 4) from Grades 9 and 10. A quasi-experimental design was used, with a pretest-posttest comparison group structure. Fourteen intact classes were randomly assigned to either a comparison group that used a traditional writing program or a treatment group that used the writing program with the Question Formulation Technique embedded within it. Instruction on the QFT was provided to teachers assigned to the treatment group and offered to other teachers when the study was completed.

The pretest-posttest examination consisted of student written arguments scored via an established writing rubric. Calibration of the instrument was conducted prior to the scoring. Independent scoring of student work was conducted to ensure interrater reliability. Data were disaggregated by gender and treatment level to analyze the effects of the treatment. Consequently, a two-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was conducted to determine if an interaction effect existed among the variables. The writing achievement pretest scores were used as the covariate and the writing achievement posttest scores were the dependent variable. Teachers maintained program implementation logs. Classes were also videotaped at the start and during the study to monitor the fidelity of the treatment. The results of the ANCOVA analysis indicated a significant main effect for Type of Writing Instruction Program, F(1, 164) = 23.80, p = .000, partial eta squared = .127, small, with the treatment group performing at a higher level than the comparison group. There was no significant effect for Gender, F (1, 164) = .973, p = .325, partial eta squared = .006. There was no significant interaction for Gender and Type of Writing Instruction Program, F(1, 164) = 2.06, p = .153, partial eta squared = .012. The findings indicated that using the Question Formulation Technique in conjunction with the Process Writing Approach Instructional Program did positively affect secondary students’ argument writing achievement scores. Students in the treatment group tended to score higher results for argument writing achievement than their counterparts in the comparison group. Implications for educators and researchers are discussed.