All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts & Sciences



First Advisor

John Deichmann


writing instruction, higher education, composition, rewriting, assessment, research, experimental classrooms


The present study focused on the effects of portfolio-based instruction in the composition classroom on college freshmen's final examination scores, course grades, and attitudes toward writing. The experimental and control groups each consisted of five freshman composition classes on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University during the Spring 1991 semester. Pre- and post-measures of students' attitudes toward writing were obtained. Students in both the experimental and control groups sat for a common final examination which consisted of two impromptu essays. The researcher investigated the effect of two types of instruction (portfolio-based and traditional process approach) on composition students' course grades and final examination scores. No evidence was found to indicate that a significant relationship exists between the type of instruction students received and these two outcomes measures. In addition, students' course grades and final examination scores were not found to vary depending upon their post-attitudes toward writing. Nor did the researcher find an interaction between the type of instruction the students received and their post-attitudes toward writing. Students' pre-attitudes toward writing were found to vary with their post-attitudes toward writing. After statistically controlling for students' pre-attitudes toward writing, students' post-attitudes toward writing were not found, to vary based upon the type of instruction they received in their composition courses. However, the researcher did find a significant relationship between the final independent evaluation of students' portfolios and their course grades and final examination scores.


Originally published as Nancy Westrich Baker

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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