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The Impact of Writing Assignments on Student Learning: Should Writing Assignments Be Structured or Unstructured?

Linda Dynan () and Tom Cate
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Linda Dynan: Northern Kentucky University
Tom Cate: Northern Kentucky University

International Review of Economic Education, 2009, vol. 8, issue 1, 64-86

Abstract: This action research project investigates whether writing assignments are associated with improved student performance in terms of lower-order learning and higher-order learning as defined in Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. The impact of explicitly structuring the learning environment on student performance is examined. We find that structured writing positively impacts students' performance on lower-order (knowledge and comprehension) assessments. However our findings suggest that structure only weakly enhances the performance of students on higher-order skills assessments. Accordingly, we recommend that structured writing assignments, particularly those designed to develop higher-order learning objectives, be introduced earlier into the economics and business curricula.

Date: 2009
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