Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Olivia G Stewart

Second Advisor

Kyle D Cook


Despite low levels of writing proficiency, noted gaps between secondary and postsecondary writing practices, and calls for a vertical curriculum, there is little research directly comparing the writing expectations of high school and college-level English educators after the implementation of the Common Core State Standards. In this convergent mixed methods research study, I explored the writing expectations of members of these two distinct communities to better understand how differences in expectations may contribute to the perceived writing gap between secondary and postsecondary contexts. Grounded in sociocultural theory, I conducted survey and interview research to study this topic, drawing on both snowball and convenience samples of secondary and postsecondary English educators. To analyze the survey data, I conducted descriptive statistics, t tests, and regression analyses to examine the commonalities and differences between the two groups of educators. To analyze the interview data, I used a two-cycle coding method to study major themes. I report the findings separately and then discuss the intersection of the findings to provide an updated overview of writing expectations for the two groups of educators. In intersecting the data, I identified four major themes: (a) educators believe writing is a process, but there are differences in autonomy that result in differences in how the process approach is enacted in the classroom; (b) educators rely on a range of similar practices to teach writing, but the extent to which digital technologies are used is unclear; (c) argument is the dominant purpose at both levels, but the kinds of argument writing vary by level, with clear discrepancies regarding the emphasis on research; and (d) definitions of good writing are fluid, but there are differences in what educators at each level value. Through the analysis of these themes, I identified practical implications for policymakers and educators in determining next steps toward working to bridge the perceived writing gap.

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