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Cognitive and motivational challenges in writing: The impact of explicit instruction and peer-assisted writing in upper-elementary grades

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... Since the publication of the "Writing and Motivation" book, the field has greatly evolved (e.g., De Smedt, 2019;Latif, 2020;Latif, 2019;. However, we identified research gaps that warranted further empirical inquiry and have driven the conduction of this thesis. ...
... Future writing motivation research needs to give further attention to these motivational constructs while accompanying recent developments of motivational theories. For instance, Van Keer, De Smedt and colleagues considered recent developments of the self-determination theory and accordingly studied the constructs of autonomous and controlled motivation in writing (De Smedt, 2019;De Smedt, Graham, et al., 2018;De Smedt, Merchie, et al., 2018;De Smedt et al., 2016). ...
... Research linking writing motivation and writing performance has blossomed over the past decades (Camacho, 2021;De Smedt, 2019;Graham, 2021). By contrast, evidence on the role of writing frequency in writing performance is still scarce (Troia et al., 2013). ...
Thesis
Writing is a key skill in literacy-dependent societies as well as a gateway to academic success and lifelong learning. However, many students do not develop robust writing skills and report low motivation to engage in writing tasks. The present thesis describes a systematic review, two observational studies, and one intervention study, whose main aim was to examine the contribution of motivation to writing performance in Portuguese middle school students. The systematic review summarized findings of 82 empirical studies. We identified 24 motivation-related constructs and found positive associations between these constructs and quantitative measures of writing performance. The first observational study examined the relations among self-efficacy, attitudes, writing frequency, and text quality of students in grades 5-6 and 7-8. Attitudes contributed to both literary and digital writing frequency and to the quality of narrative and opinion texts across grade-levels. Self-efficacy for self-regulation also made a significant contribution to narrative text quality across grade-levels. Digital writing frequency was significantly associated with text quality only in grades 7-8. Using the same sample, the second observational study investigated the relations among implicit theories, achievement goals, and text quality. We found that more incremental theories were associated with a greater endorsement of mastery goals and with higher text quality. Furthermore, a greater endorsement of mastery goals was associated with higher text quality, whereas a greater adoption of performance-approach goals was linked to lower text quality. Finally, the intervention study tested the impact of a writing instructional program for sixth graders and the added value of a brief growth mindset intervention. The writing program was effective in enhancing students’ text quality and length, but not self-efficacy nor implicit theories. Altogether, these findings underline the pivotal role that motivation plays in students’ writing performance.
... The present study Research linking writing motivation and writing performance has blossomed over the past decades (Camacho et al., 2021;De Smedt, 2019;. By contrast, evidence on the role of writing frequency in writing performance is still scarce (Troia et al., 2013). ...
... At least three implications for writing instruction may stem from this study. First and foremost, teachers need to be mindful about the critical role of motivational variables in writing proficiency (Camacho et al., 2021;De Smedt, 2019;Graham, 2018). Specifically, teachers need to nurture positive attitudes towards writing in the classroom as these contribute directly to how well lower and upper grade students perform across text genres. ...
Article
Background: Writing is a particularly demanding activity, which poses unique motivational challenges for students. Despite the wealth of research on the relation between writing motivation and writing performance, little is known about the role of students' writing frequency in writing motivation and writing performance. Aims: We aimed to: (1) examine structural relations among two motivational variables (i.e., self-efficacy and attitudes), a behavioural variable (i.e., writing frequency), and writing performance; and (2) inspect whether these relations varied across two text genres (i.e., narrative and opinion texts) and across two educational levels (i.e., students in grades 5-6 and grades 7-8). Sample: Six hundred and five students from grades 5-8 participated in this study. Methods: Students completed self-report scales and wrote narrative and opinion texts. We conducted multiple-group structural equation modeling to analyse the data. Results: Regarding narrative texts, digital writing frequency was significantly associated with text quality for students in grades 7-8, but this relation was not significant in students from grades 5-6. Both attitudes and self-efficacy for self-regulation made a direct contribution to narrative text quality across educational levels. In addition, attitudes were associated with both literary and digital writing frequency across educational levels. Concerning opinion texts, no significant differences emerged in terms of educational level. Attitudes contributed to both literary and digital writing frequency as well as to opinion text quality across educational levels. Conclusions: This study underlines the fundamental contribution of motivational variables to students' writing performance. Accordingly, teachers need to adopt motivation-enhancing practices in writing instruction across grade levels.
... Importantly, Latif's book embodies an important research trend of narrative and systematic reviews on writing motivation which are driving and advancing the field (see also Boscolo & Gelati, 2019;Boscolo & Hidi, 2007;Camacho et al., 2021;De Smedt, 2019;Ekholm et al., 2018;Graham, 2018;Troia, 2012). ...
Article
The book “Writing motivation research, measurement and pedagogy”, written by Muhammad M. M. Abdel Latif (2021) and published by Routledge, summarises and integrates literature on the role of motivation in writing over the last four decades. This book emerges out of the author’s experience and interest in writing motivation research—including a doctoral thesis on writing self-efficacy and apprehension—and out of his experience in teaching writing courses at the university level. Throughout six chapters, the author delves into research focused on eight main writing motivation constructs: writing apprehension, attitude, anxiety, self-efficacy, self-concept, achievement goals, perceived value of writing, and motivational regulation. Specifically, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 are devoted to the conceptualization and measurement of writing motivation constructs. Chapter 3 focuses on the correlates and sources of students’ writing motivation. Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 describe the effectiveness of different instructional practices and provide clear guidelines on how to motivate students to write. Finally, Chapter 6 presents directions to advance writing motivation research, measurement, and pedagogy. The book closes with a glossary of writing motivation constructs and other relevant concepts. The contents of all six chapters are reviewed below.
... Future writing motivation research needs to give further attention to these motivational constructs, while accompanying recent developments of motivational theories. For instance, Van Keer, De Smedt and colleagues considered recent developments of the selfdetermination theory and accordingly studied the constructs of autonomous and controlled motivation in writing (De Smedt 2019;De Smedt et al. 2018a, b;De Smedt et al. 2016). Recently, it was suggested that curiosity is a construct both conceptually related and divergent from interest (Ainley 2019;Hidi and Renninger 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
Motivation is a catalyst of writing performance in school. In this article, we report a systematic review of empirical studies on writing motivation conducted in school settings, published between 2000 and 2018 in peer-reviewed journals. We aimed to (1) examine how motivational constructs have been defined in writing research; (2) analyze group differences in writing motivation; (3) unveil effects of motivation on writing performance; (4) gather evidence on teaching practices supporting writing motivation; and (5) examine the impact of digital tools on writing motivation. Through database and hand searches, we located 82 articles that met eligibility criteria. Articles were written in English, focused on students in grades 1–12, and included at least one quantitative or qualitative measure of writing motivation. Across the 82 studies, 24 motivation-related constructs were identified. In 46% of the cases, these constructs were unclearly defined or not defined. Studies showed that overall girls were more motivated to write than boys. Most studies indicated moderate positive associations between motivation and writing performance measures. Authors also examined how students’ writing motivation was influenced by teaching practices, such as handwriting instruction, self-regulated strategy development instruction, and collaborative writing. Digital tools were found to have a positive effect on motivation. Based on this review, we suggest that to move the field forward, researchers need to accurately define motivational constructs; give further attention to understudied motivational constructs; examine both individual and contextual factors; conduct longitudinal studies; identify evidence-based practices that could inform professional development programs for teachers; and test long-term effects of digital tools.
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