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Survey of American College Students: Perception of Need for & Evaluation of Writing Skills Instruction

Survey of American College Students: Perception of Need for & Evaluation of Writing Skills Instruction

Self-Perceived Need for Instruction in General Writing Skills

We asked respondents to do the following: rate your need for instruction in general writing skills. We gave five possible answers to this question: 1) No need at all 2) A little need but I can handle it myself 3) Not really sure if I need instruction 4) I need some formal instruction in this area 5) I have a significant need for formal instruction in this area.

A plurality of respondents said that they have no need at all for instruction in general writing skills (46.05%), while 33.86% said that they have a little need but can handle it themselves. Other notable trends are as follows:

• By year of class standing, at least after freshmen years, the awareness of need for instruction seems to grow with seniority. It is seniors who are most likely to day that they need some or a significant amount of instruction; more than 10% gave one of these two answers.

• Students who describe themselves as “middle of the road” are most likely to have a little need (40.20%), followed by those self-described as “very left wing” (33.33%)

• By college grades, students who have a B or B+ average are most likely to have a little need (36.04%)


This 112-page highly detailed report presents a statistical profile of how full time students at 4-year colleges in the United States view their need for instruction in spelling, grammar and general writing skills, and how they evaluation the instruction that they have received. The report helps its readers to answer questions such as: which students are receiving writing instruction and which are not? Which are seeking out courses that require writing and research skills and which students are avoiding such courses? How many and which students have received specialized tutoring in writing instruction? In which areas do students feel that they need additional help? How do they evaluation the quality of instruction that they have received thus far and what do they need that they are not getting? Data in the report is based on a survey of 1,140 college students from 4-year colleges in the United States. Data is presented in the aggregate and also broken out for 16 variables including college grades, ACT/SAT scores, race/ethnicity, gender, college major or intended major, college Carnegie class and public/private status, regional origins, income level, political affiliation and other useful criteria.

Table 1.2 Have you ever been required to turn in a paper exceeding approximately 10 double spaced typed pages in length for any of your classes? Broken out by Carnegie class
Table 1.3 Have you ever been required to turn in a paper exceeding approximately 10 double spaced typed pages in length for any of your classes? Broken out by age of survey participant
Table 1.4 Have you ever been required to turn in a paper exceeding approximately 10 double spaced typed pages in length for any of your classes? Broken out for survey participants from rural, suburban and urban areas of origin
Table 1.5 Have you ever been required to turn in a paper exceeding approximately 10 double spaced typed pages in length for any of your classes? Broken out regional origins of the survey participant
Table 1.6 Have you ever been required to turn in a paper exceeding approximately 10 double spaced typed pages in length for any of your classes? Broken out by college year class standing

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