Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Early Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

Jenifer J. Schneider Ph.D.


Education, Elementary, Instruction, High-stakes testing, Best practices


The purpose of this study was to examine students' perspectives of writing instruction to gain insights into their awareness of the impact of high-stakes writing assessments on instructional practices and teaching strategies. Students in grades four and five who attended the 2004 Suncoast Young Author's Celebration (SYAC) served as the sample for this study. Data were gathered through surveys and interviews with 20 students who attended the SYAC. Survey questions were used to obtain general information about the students' perceptions of writing instruction and assessment. Interviews were conducted to gain a richer understanding of their perceptions of classroom experiences.The participants in this study provided descriptive data about their perceptions of writing in school.

Fourteen distinct patterns emerged from the data which fell into three overarching categories: Writing, Teacher Instruction, and Testing.Findings suggest that students write for various purposes at school: for pleasure, to express themselves, to acquire and share knowledge, and because they are tested. The participants in this study spent a great deal of time discussing content area writing. During content area writing, students interacted with their peers which provided meaningful support to their writing development.According to the students, most teachers used a combination of grading methods when assessing writing. The students provided a great deal of data regarding the comments their teachers made on their writing assignments.A major finding was the amount of emotion that the students expressed regarding timed writing assessments. The data from this study do not specify whether or not teachers overtly discussed the significance of the FCAT.

I expected the emphasis on high-stakes writing assessments to impact the individual attention that the students received; however, according to the students, their teachers' provided a great deal of support and guidance.Although the data did not produce what I expected, when I began analyzing the data it became apparent that FCAT Writing does influence many facets of the writing curriculum including grading, feedback, and conferencing.