Preservice elementary teachers' writing skills: perceptions versus abilities
Knickerbocker, Michelle Tappmeyer
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The purpose of this study was to determine if preservice teachers' perceptions of their writing skills aligned with their actual writing skills and how their writing experiences affected their attitudes and beliefs toward writing and writing instruction. This mixed-methods study measured the linguistic skills of 27 elementary education students through a variety of quantitative assessments designed to measure both their writing abilities and their knowledge of linguistic concepts. Surveys, classroom observations, writing samples, and interviews provided qualitative data of writing experiences, attitudes, and beliefs regarding writing and writing instruction. The quantitative and qualitative data were then analyzed and compared. The results confirmed the hypothesis that students' perceptions, as shaped by their writing experiences, and attitudes and beliefs about writing and writing instruction, did not accurately reflect their abilities. Recommendations were made for possible curriculum changes and other supports to improve students' skills and shift their attitudes and beliefs about the value of writing and writing instruction.