Investigating the effect of writing centre intervention on student writing.

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South African Journal of Higher Education

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Taylor & Francis


University of Cape Town

Writing is one of the main means of assessment in tertiary institutions and helping students with writing could improve their overall academic performance and could ensure that students proceed to graduation. More and more, Academic Development initiatives are being 'driven to demonstrate their ""success"" by substantiating the rhetoric of their mission statements with researched evidence of performance' (Yeld and Visser 2001,6). This article describes in detail one study investigating Writing Centre interventions by looking at improvement in assessed writing in the context of the curriculum. The context-embedded nature of the methodology coheres with an 'academic literacies' approach to student writing (Lea and Street 1998), rather than a skills-based approach. The study was achieved through interviewing forty first year students on their perceptions of the Centre and its influence on their writing; looking at consultants' comments; looking at grades; comparing independent assessments of the students' first and final drafts. This multi-faceted approach enabled a holistic and contextualized picture of student writing to emerge.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in South African Journal of Higher Education in 2008, available online: