Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Rene S Parmar

Second Advisor

Mary E Freeley

Third Advisor

Randall F Clemens


College writing center practices differ greatly from the types of conventional writing instruction students and faculty are used to in classrooms. While conventional college lectures typically lead to a summative assessment in the form of grades based on students’ performance on high-stakes assignments, writing centers are seen as tutoring centers where students can receive more personalized attention in the form of formative assessment practices and a process oriented approach to instruction prior to receiving summative evaluations from lecturers. This study measured whether or not there was a relationship between writing center visits and student outcomes as they related to retention rates as measured by the number of students who remained active or completed throughout the study, student persistence rates as measured by credits earned, and student success as measured by cumulative GPAs. This study contributes greatly to existing literature because of the unique “at-risk” student population sampled and the study’s unique research design, a multiple hierarchical regression.

The study’s participants consisted of 180 students who utilized writing center services at a small open-enrollment college on an urban commuter campus in the northeast, hereby referred to as UCC, a pseudonym. Data were collected using a

proprietary database that captured student data via their student ID cards, which students used to access the writing center and other academic resource centers on campus. A hierarchical multiple regression research design was chosen because the model measured the relationships of groups of tiered or nested predictor variables that could have impacted student success both on and off campus, such as a student’s participation in other academic support programs or the type of major they chose, or the amount of credits they had earned. This method facilitated the examination of variables separate from the effects of other plausible factors. This research study’s findings indicated that there was a significant relationship between student outcomes, writing center visits when grouped by class (freshman, sophomore…), and other tiered or nested variables. However, the number of times students visited the writing center did not have a significant effect when all students were considered.