Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum & Instruction

Document Type



The purpose of this mixed methods study was to use a quantitative survey to assess the relationships between the credit pathways students choose to earn first-year, first-semester (FYFS) university writing credit (i.e. dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, university courses, and ACT/SAT exemptions) and several writing experiences and outcomes, including writing curriculum, self-efficacy, self-regulatory strategy use, and course performance. The same survey was also used to explore relationships between these writing experiences and outcomes and preexisting student characteristics (i.e. race/ethnicity, gender, and parents’ education). For dual enrollment (DE) students only, the following aspects of the participants’ writing experiences were also investigated using qualitative analysis of responses to open-ended survey items and one-on-one interviews: motivation and outcomes, feedback received, curriculum experienced, and impact on academic and career choices.

Literature on this topic has focused on students at every level of education but has been typically qualitative and has not involved surveying such a large sample of undergraduates. In an effort to improve writing and general academic outcomes for students, this study advances the knowledge about DE composition studies in relation to other composition credit pathways, specifically with regard to writing self-efficacy and writing curriculum.

Key findings from the quantitative analyses include inconsistencies between curriculum in DE versus curriculum in AP and on-campus writing courses that are further supported by the qualitative findings; these differences in curriculum are related to the type and number of writing assignments and feedback received from instructors and peers. The quantitative findings also suggest a racial achievement gap between black students and non-black students taking advanced English courses. In addition, the qualitative findings related to motivation and outcomes are very similar to those discussed in the existing literature. Overall, the findings suggest that while most participants view their DE writing experiences as helpful in preparing them for subsequent college writing, program administrators and instructors must communicate and collaborate to ensure appropriate content and adequate rigor are available to all students.



Committee Chair

Arbuthnot, Keena