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Questioning the Effectiveness of Writing-to-Learn

by Arie Spirgel & Peter Delaney - October 14, 2015

Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) programs are present in most U.S. and Canadian higher education institutions. One of the primary functions of WAC programs is to promote the use of writing as a tool for learning, regardless of discipline. However, the success of writing as an avenue to learning a subject matter has not been borne out in the literature, at least not convincingly. Here, we review recent experiments we conducted showing that writing produces similar learning outcomes to reading without reading; these results led us to the conclusion that students must first become competent writers before they can reap the benefits of writing-to-learn. WAC programs have substantial value, but we argue that rethinking their mission might better serve students.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: October 14, 2015
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18147, Date Accessed: 6/23/2021 7:36:42 AM

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About the Author
  • Arie Spirgel
    Nova Southeastern University
    E-mail Author
    ARIE SPIRGEL is a Senior Research Associate at Nova Southeastern University.
  • Peter Delaney
    University of North Carolina Greensboro
    E-mail Author
    PETER DELANEY is Director of Undergraduate Studies at University of North Carolina Greensboro.
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