Date of Award

Spring 5-2008

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Edward Duncanson, EdD

Second Advisor

Marcia A. B. Delcourt, PhD

Third Advisor

Kathryn Campbell, PhD


Writing requires strong motivation to persevere through the unique problem solving and self-monitoring process required for a successful execution of the task. Results of writing achievement research often reveal a gender gap. Typically, girls outperform boys at local, state, national, and international writing assessments. This study examined the relationship between writing achievement ability and writing motivation by gender for third-grade students in a suburban school district. This study is important due to a dearth of information on academic motivation in the domain of writing because what does exist is usually focused on students from middle school to college age, not elementary age students. Academic motivation in literacy needs to be better understood in order to both maximize instructional practices suited toward this goal and to increase the development of self-efficacy among students.

This study employed a quantitative approach using the following measures: self-efficacy for writing, writing apprehension, writing valuation, the Connecticut Mastery Test’s Direct Assessment of Writing, and general aptitude from the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test

(OLSAT). The first analysis involved an examination of any differences in writing achievement scores for boys and girls, after covarying for general aptitude. Then, two regression analyses were conducted, one for boys and one for girls. Analyses were used to predict the variation in writing achievement scores by first entering ability into the equation and then entering scores for writing motivation (self-efficacy for writing, writing apprehension and writing valuation). This study included 107 general education third-grade students in this district, out of a population of approximately 300 students. For the purposes of this study, general education students are defined, as those not identified as special education students. However this definition does include students who participate in the pull-out program for those students identified as academically gifted. Results from this study provide insight for creating instructional practices critical to developing students’ self-efficacy and perseverance in writing.

Results indicate general aptitude does not significantly influence writing achievement, but that there is a significant difference in writing achievement scores for boys and girls (F(1, 104) = 11.950, p = .001). Stepwise regression analysis indicated writing apprehension and self-efficacy influenced boys’ writing achievement scores, and self-efficacy influenced girls’ writing achievement scores. It appears different factors may be influencing success in writing achievement based on gender. Further research is needed to explore this issue.