RAD Collaboration in the Writing Center: An Impact Study of Course-Embedded Writing Center Support on Student Writing in a Criminological Theory Course
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Given numerous calls within the writing center community for replicable, aggregable, and data-driven (RAD) research, this article presents findings from a study of course-embedded writing center impact on student writing in a writing-intensive criminological theory course. The research team analyzed papers from two semesters of the same course: one where students were given extra credit for self-selecting to work with the writing center and one where course-embedded writing center support was implemented. A total of 162 papers were analyzed using two taxonomies in order to study writing center impact on (a) grammatical correctness (mechanics, relationships between words, clauses, and the whole paper), as well as (b) student engagement with and comprehension of course content. Findings show that students in the semester with course-embedded writing center support had fewer grammatical errors in three out of the four subcategories analyzed, but also showed that GPA was the strongest predictor of grammatical correctness. Findings also indicate that course-embedded writing center support was the strongest predictor of students’ engagement with and comprehension of course content for the first of two theories in each of their papers, but that the student’s GPA coming into the course was a stronger predictor of student’s engagement and comprehension of a second theory in each of their papers.