A comparative analysis of student-centered and teacher-directed instruction for middle school direct writing tests

Teacher-Directed Writing Instruction and Student-Centered Writing Instruction were compared to determine which method was most effective in preparing middle school students for direct writing tests. Five seventh grade Language Arts classes participated in the study; two classes were taught using Student-Centered Writing Instruction and three classed were taught using Teacher-Directed Writing Instruction. In January 2003, students were given a direct writing pre-test wherein they had to read and respond to a poem in a 52 minute poem. After four months of writing instruction, students completed a direct writing post-test. As with the pre-test, students read and responded to a poem in a 52 minute period. The results indicate that more students who received Student-Centered Writing Instruction scored better on the post-test than those who received Teacher-Directed Writing Instruction. Student-Centered Writing Instruction promotes student experimentation with writing, sharing between peers, and student ownership of their writing, which instilled an overall confidence in writing. When given a direct writing test, their confidence in their writing showed through.