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The Impact of Writing Assignments on Student Learning: Should Writing Assignments Be Structured or Unstructured?


  • Linda Dynan

    () (Northern Kentucky University)

  • Tom Cate

    (Northern Kentucky University)


This action research project investigates whether writing assignments are associated with improved student performance in terms of lower-order learning and higher-order learning as defined in Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. The impact of explicitly structuring the learning environment on student performance is examined. We find that structured writing positively impacts students' performance on lower-order (knowledge and comprehension) assessments. However our findings suggest that structure only weakly enhances the performance of students on higher-order skills assessments. Accordingly, we recommend that structured writing assignments, particularly those designed to develop higher-order learning objectives, be introduced earlier into the economics and business curricula.

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  • Linda Dynan & Tom Cate, 2009. "The Impact of Writing Assignments on Student Learning: Should Writing Assignments Be Structured or Unstructured?," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 8(1), pages 64-86.
  • Handle: RePEc:che:ireepp:v:8:y:2009:i:1:p:64-86

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Steven A. Greenlaw, 2003. "Using Writing to Enhance Student Learning in Undergraduate Economics," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 1(1), pages 61-70.
    2. William E. Becker, 1997. "Teaching Economics to Undergraduates," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1347-1373, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Raboy, David G., 2017. "An introductory microeconomics in-class experiment to reinforce the marginal utility/price maximization rule and the integration of modern theory," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 36-49.
    2. Hall, Joshua C. & Podemska-Mikluch, Marta, 2015. "Teaching the economic way of thinking through Op-eds," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 13-21.
    3. repec:eee:ireced:v:26:y:2017:i:c:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Elizabeth Perry-Sizemore & Steven A. Greenlaw, 2011. "Writing for Learning in Economics," Chapters,in: International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.

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