Julie Mahoney

Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Reading Education


Language, Literacy, and Special Education


College of Education


Lee, Valarie


Composition (language arts); Middle school students


Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration


The purpose of this research study is to examine and evaluate adolescents' perspectives on academic writing and investigate ways in which a teacher can motivate these students to become better writers. Common Core curriculum was used along with collaborative, technology-based and independent writing tasks in which students learned how to identify their writing motivations in a variety of writing tasks. Qualitative inquiry strategies such as student surveys, student written work and observations were used to collect data. The data revealed that the students were motivated by writing assignments in which they knew they would present to the class and receive some sort of teacher or peer feedback. Students gained motivation through presenting and sharing their writing. When they knew this was going to be done, they put more effort and showed more concern in the writing task. Also, when writing assignments were written independently without guidance, students struggled to get started. However, when they received teacher-guiding instruction at the beginning of the writing task they began more willingly and had more confidence. Collaborative assignments were proven to be useful, but only when students had an option to do it independently. In all cases during this study students were motivated through the social aspect of writing, especially through conversations during pre-writing and presentation feedback at the end. Implications for motivating middle school students who are reluctant writers are discussed throughout this study.