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Learning and Instruction 33 (2014)


Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Learning and Instruction

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/learninstruc

Do students beliefs about writing relate to their writing self-efcacy,

apprehension, and performance?
Joanne Sanders-Reio , Patricia A. Alexander b, Thomas G. Reio, Jr. a, Isadore Newman a

College of Education, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
College of Education, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA

article info
Article history:
This study tested a model in which beliefs about writing, writing self-efcacy, and writing
Received 12 September
2012 Received in revised apprehension predict writing performance. The Beliefs About Writing Survey, the Writing Self-
form Efcacy Index, and the modied Writing Apprehension Test were administered to 738
9 February 2014 undergraduates to predict their grade on a class paper. In a hierarchical regression, beliefs
Accepted 14 February 2014 about writing predicted variance in writing scores beyond that accounted for by writing self-
Available online 18 March efcacy and apprehension. Audience Orientation, a new belief associated with expert practice,
was the strongest positive predictor of the students grade. Transmission, a belief in relying on
material published by authorities, was the leading negative predictor. Writing self- ef cacy
Keywords: predicted performance, albeit modestly. The traditional measure of writing apprehension
Writing self-efcacy (anxiety about being critiqued) was not signicant, but Apprehension About Grammar, a new
construct, signicantly and negatively predicted performance. These results support the
Beliefs about
possibility that beliefs about writing could be a leverage point for teaching students to write.
writing Expertise 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights
Writing development reserved.

1. Introduction efcacy (e.g., McCarthy, Meier, & Rinderer, 1985; Pajares &
Valiante, 1999). Correlations between writing self-efcacy and
Social cognitive theory established the importance of writing performance have ranged from .03 (Pajares & Johnson,
beliefs in human learning and performance. The most 1994) to .83 (Schunk & Swartz, 1993), clustering around .35,
important of these beliefs are self-efcacy beliefs, ones while correlations between writing performance and writing
condence in ones ability to perform tasks required to apprehen- sion have ranged from -.28 (Meier, McCarthy, &
cope with situations and achieve specic goals. People with Schmeck, 1984) to -.57 (Pajares & Johnson, 1994).
high self-efcacy are more likely to take on challenges, try
harder, and persist longer than those with low self- efcacy 1.1. Beliefs about writing
(Bandura, 1989). People with high self-efcacy tend to be
less apprehensive and to confront anxiety-producing
More recent work has extended the social cognitive
situations to reduce their threat, while those with low self-
view of writing by exploring whether another type of
efcacy avoid such situations (Pajares, 1997). Bandura
belief, beliefs about writing, also relates to writing
maintains that there are four sources of self-efcacy, with
performance and its established correlates, writing self-
the most inuential being ones pre- vious successes and
efcacy and apprehension. In contrast to writing self-
mastery experiences (Bandura, 1997).
efcacy beliefs (i.e., ones beliefs about ones own
Thirty years of research with students ranging from fourth
writing skills), beliefs about writing address what good
graders to undergraduates supports the linkages between
writing is and what good writers do. As Graham, Schwartz,
self- efcacy, apprehension, and performance with respect to
and MacArthur (1993) wrote, The knowledge, attitudes,
writing. Students with high writing self-efcacy write better
and beliefs that students hold about writing play an
and are less apprehensive about writing than those with
important part in determining how the composing process
low writing self-
is carried out and what the eventual shape of the
written product will be (p. 246). Mateos et al. (2010)
similarly described these beliefs as lters leading
* Corresponding author. Tel.: 1 305 348 0124; fax: 1 305 348 1515.
students to represent the task of.writing to themselves
E-mail addresses: jsanders@u.edu, sandersreio@netscape.net (J. Sanders- in a particular way, with the various models of writing
Reio), palexander662@gmail.com (P.A. Alexander), reiot@u.edu (T.G. Reio), created by these beliefs leading to different
newmani@ u.edu (I. Newman). engagement patterns (p. 284).
.001 0959-4752/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights
J. Sanders-Reio et al. / Learning and Instruction 33 (2014)
2 1e11
Scholars of both educational psychology and writing and in established sources. Transaction and Transmission are
rhet- oric have studied beliefs about writing. Palmquist and independent of one another, so individuals can espouse
Young (1992) conducted one of the rst empirical studies neither, one, or both of
of these beliefs, an examination of the belief that writing is
an innate gift that some have and others lack. Overall,
undergraduates who believed that writing ability is innate
were more apprehensive about writing, had lower
estimates of their writing skills and abilities (a belief akin
to self-efcacy), and were less condent in their potential
to become good writers. The authors concluded that the
belief in innateness appears to make an important,
though largely unacknowledged, contribution to a
constellation of expectations, attitudes, and be- liefs that
inuence the ways in which students approach writing (p.
159). More specically, the authors found an interaction
be- tween self-appraisals and apprehension, and the belief
in innate- ness. Among students who had low assessments
of their own writing, the belief in the innateness of writing
ability strongly correlated with writing apprehension, while
among students with high appraisals of their own writing,
the belief in innateness did not relate to apprehension. The
authors suggested that students with low assessments of
their written work and high writing appre- hension might
use the belief in innateness to rationalize their poor
Silva and Nicholls (1993) studied the beliefs underlying
six traditions of teaching writing: those emphasizing (a)
personal involvement, (b) writing for understanding, (c)
mechanical cor- rectness, (d) collaboration, (e) cognitive
strategies, and (f) models of good writing. The authors
developed two genre-neutral scales, one based on the
characteristics of good writing espoused by each tradition
and the other reecting the writing strategies that
emerged from each perspective. A principal components
analysis (PCA) of each scale, followed by a second-order
PCA of the resulting components, yielded four emphases:
(a) personal meaning and enjoyment of words, (b) a
recursive approach fostering under- standing, (c) focus on
audience and strategies, and (d) surface correctness and
Lavelle (1993) published a number of studies about
students approaches to writing, a broad construct
encompassing beliefs about writing, writing self-efcacy,
writing goals, and writing strategies. A factor analysis of
college students survey responses yielded ve approaches
that fell into two categories, deep and surface. The deep
approaches included the elaborationist approach,
characterized by personal and emotional involvement, and
the relative-revisionist approach, with its strong audience
awareness and in-depth revision. The surface approaches
were the low self- efcacy approach, with its relative lack
of writing strategies; the spontaneous-impulsive approach,
characterized by a one-step process and lack of personal
meaning; and the procedural approach, with its reliance on
strategies. Writers using deep ap- proaches had a stronger
sense of audience and revised more, both globally and
locally. Those using surface approaches were less invested
in their writing, used fewer writing strategies, and were
less aware of their audience and writing process.

1.1.1. Transaction and Transmission

White and Bruning (2005) explored whether two
established beliefs about reading, Transaction and
Transmission (Schraw & Bruning, 1996, 1999), inuence
students writing. Writers with high Transaction beliefs are
emotionally and cognitively engaged in their writing process.
They see writing as a means of deepening their
understanding of the concepts they write about and their own
views. By contrast, those with high Transmission beliefs
regard writing as a means for reporting what authorities think.
These writers stick to the information and arguments they nd
J. Sanders-Reio et al. / Learning and Instruction 33 (2014)
these beliefs. Students with high Transaction 1e11 beliefs audience they have richly represented in their minds. They
earned signicantly higher grades for their written work, select which information to include and decide how to
while those with high Transmission beliefs received present it with this audience in mind.
signicantly lower scores. Transaction positively A major difference between the writers in these three
correlated with writing self-efcacy, but did not relate to stages is the number of perspectives and representations
writing apprehension. Transmission related to neither self- they maintain as they write. Knowledge Tellers have one main
efcacy nor apprehension. The authors suggested that perspective, their own representation of the text, and only a
these beliefs inuence writing performance via affective tenuous grasp of what their paper actually says. Knowledge
(e.g., appre- hension), cognitive and behavioral writing Transformers consider two perspectives, their ideal text and
processes. their actual manuscript; they revise to make their paper more
Mateos et al. (2010) extended White and Brunings (2005) like their ideal representation. Knowledge Crafters juggle
work by studying writers adherence to Transaction and three rich and stable representations of their work: their ideal
Transmission beliefs along with their support of the paper, the text as it actually reads, and the text as they think
epistemic beliefs examined by Schommer-Aikins (2004). As their readers will understand it. Writers in this nal stage
in the White and Bruning (2005) study, Transaction positively regulate themselves cognitively, emotionally, and
correlated with academic achieve- ment, while Transmission behaviorally.
negatively related to achievement. Additionally, Transaction Writers move from one stage to the next only after many of
negatively related to Fixed Ability (intel- ligence is dened, their writing skills have become uid and their ability to
not malleable), Simple Knowledge (knowledge is comprised represent their text, in its ideal and actual forms, well
of discrete facts, not complex, conceptual structures), and developed and stable. Because of the heavy demands writing
Quick Learning (learning occurs immediately or not at all). makes on working memory, particularly central executive
Transmission positively related to Simple Knowledge. function, Kellogg (2008) estimated that it takes writers about
10 years to master each of the rst two stages. Only experts
1.1.2. Kelloggs model of writing development and those who write extensively reach stage three, and
The development of the four-factor beliefs about writing normally not before adulthood. Even then, they usually write
framework presented here was guided by Kelloggs (2008) at this level in only a few genres. Because the oldest students
cogni- tive model of writing development. Kellogg built on that Bereiter and Scardamalia (1987) studied were
Bereiter and Scardamalias (1987) two-stage developmental undergraduates, Kellogg reasoned that most of them were in
model of Knowl- edge Telling and Knowledge Transforming. the rst two stages because they would not have had the time
Knowledge Tellers re- cord what they know about a topic, to gain stable executive control over the skills associated with
primarily as their ideas occur to them. Knowledge stage three.
Transformers are aware of discrepancies be- tween what Although Kellogg (2008) clearly delineated these stages,
they intend to write and what their text actually says. These he did not cast them as discrete. Rather, he described writing
writers revise to bridge these gaps, and they rene their skills and representations as being on a continuum. He
understandings and rethink their ideas as they work. Kellogg allowed that writers in the rst stage may have some
added a third stage, Knowledge Crafting, which describes conception of their audience and their actual text, but
expert writing. Knowledge Crafters tailor their writing to an maintained that such representations are
sketchy and unstable. Scheuer, de la Cruz, Pozo, Huarte, and
1.2. Writing self-efcacy and writing apprehension
Solas (2006) study of childrens conceptions of the writing
process sup- ports Kelloggs views. The Scheuer group
The earliest writing self-efcacy scales emphasized
examined the conceptions that kindergarteners, rst graders,
mechanical writing skills (e.g., Meier et al., 1984).
and 4th graders have about writing and thinking at four points
Subsequent measures also addressed substantive writing
in the writing process: before writing, and during writing,
skills (e.g., Pajares & Valiante, 1999) and writing self-
revising, and rereading. At each higher grade, the children
regulation (Zimmerman & Bandura, 1994). This
had a more complex working conception of writing. The
investigation examines all three types of writing self-
kindergarteners worked to capture oral language on paper,
efcacy. Daly and Miller (1975) operationalized writing
while the 4th graders worked to elaborate on and organize
apprehension as avoid- ance of writing and the expectation
their papers so they made sense, were thematically unied,
of negative evaluations of ones written work. In the
and complied with writing conventions. The older children had
Pajares groups (e.g., Pajares & Valiante, 1997) path
more executive control and thought more as they wrote.
analyses, writing self-efcacy directly and positively
predicted writing performance, and indirectly contributed
1.1.3. The importance of audience to students writing scores by reducing and even nullifying
Researchers and experts from numerous disciplines concur writing apprehen- sion as dened by Daly and Miller
with Kelloggs emphasis on audience. In the research on (1975). However, Smith, Cheville, and Hillocks (2006)
beliefs about writing discussed above, one of the four suggested that there may be another type of writing
components generated by Silva and Nichollss (1993) apprehension, a fear of making mechanical errors such as
secondary PCA stressed the writers rapport with their spelling and grammar mistakes.
audience. Similarly, one of the main differences between
writers who used deep approaches and those who used 1.3. Purpose of the study, research questions, and hypotheses
surface approaches in Lavelles (1993) studies was that those
who used deep approaches had a stronger sense of audience. This study builds on the work of researchers of educational
Elsewhere, Beach and Friedrich (2006), and Miller and psychology, writing and rhetoric, and expert practice to
Charney (2008) dis- cussed how writers adjust the examine a model of how beliefs about writing, writing self-
presentation, content, and tone of their arguments in efcacy, writing apprehension, and writing performance relate
response to their audience and whether this audience is part to one another. In so doing, it augments White and Brunings
of the writers usual discourse community. Finally, with regard (2005) work by examining two new beliefs about writing,
to instruction, writing teachers have emphasized rhetoric, the Recursive Process and Audience Orientation, in addition to
study of how to inuence and persuade readers, since the Transaction and Transmission. This study also combines and
time of Aristotle (Miller & Charney, 2008). expands existing measures of writing self- efcacy to create a
three-component scale that assesses self- efcacy for
1.1.4. Writing as a recursive process substantive writing issues, writing mechanics, and writing
Scholars and practitioners also agree that procient writers self-regulation. Finally, the study operationalizes writing
use a recursive process. Silva and Nichollss (1993) secondary apprehension more broadly than do existing studies by
PCA yielded a component that emphasized an iterative investi- gating apprehension about grammar and correctness
approach to writing. Lavelle (1993) found that deep as well as avoidance of writing and anxiety about having
approaches involved in- depth revision. Iteration is also ones written work evaluated.
foundational to Hayes and Flowers (e.g., 1980) process The following research questions guided the study:
writing model. Similarly, renowned journalists/writing teachers
William Zinsser and Donald Murray stress the recursive nature 1. What are the relations among beliefs about writing,
of writing. Zinsser (1976), whose On Writing Well has sold well writing self- efcacy, writing apprehension, and writing
over a million copies, maintained, Rewriting is the essence of performance?
writing (p. 4), while Murray (1991) declared, Writing is 2. What are the unique contributions of beliefs about
rewriting (p. vii). writing, writing self-efcacy, and writing apprehension to
writing performance?
1.1.5. Examining these beliefs about writing in light of Kelloggs
In developing our conceptual model, we were guided rst
by researchers (e.g., White & Bruning, 2005) who suggested
With respect to Kelloggs model (2008), White and
that stu- dents beliefs about writing inuence their writing
Brunings (2005) Transmission (i.e., the purpose of writing is
process, which would include their selection of writing
to convey in- formation published by authorities) can be seen
strategies. Thus, it seems, for example, that students who
as a form of stage one, Knowledge Telling, as writers inform
believe that writing is a recursive process would be more
readers about what au- thorities have written in sources such
likely to proofread and revise their work and to attend to
as textbooks, encyclopedias, and journals without necessarily
instruction on revision, thereby sharpening their editing skills.
engaging with the material or incorporating their own insights
Proofreading and revising would in turn improve writing
and analyses. Transaction (i.e., writers are cognitively and
performance, thereby creating the mastery experiences that,
emotionally engaged in their writing and think through their
according to Bandura (1997), enhance self-efcacy. An
views as they write) aligns with stage two, Knowledge
exception might occur with maladaptive beliefs, such as the
Transforming, where writers work to make their actual papers
belief that writing is an innate gift, which are associated with
more in accord with their goals for their papers and their
weak writing performance. Such maladaptive beliefs may
mental representations of the content. Recursive Process, the
operate in a different way, as rationalizations for poor writing
belief that accomplished writers go through multiple versions
performance, as Palmquist and Young (1992) suggested. With
of their plans and drafts, also falls under the second stage,
respect to self- efcacy, we were informed by Lavelle (1993),
where writers rework their papers to rene their
who found that stu- dents with low writing self-efcacy
understandings and their pre- sentation of those
reported that they used few writing strategies. We thus
understandings. Audience Orientation, which holds that
reasoned that a belief in the helpfulness of effective writing
writers should adapt their writing to the needs of their
strategies would precede the development of writing self-
readers, aligns with Kelloggs third stage, Knowledge Crafting,
efcacy. Finally, for apprehension, we were informed by the
which emphasizes audience.
Pajares groups path-analytic research (e.g., Pajares & Johnson, 1994), which indicated that writing self-efcacy
nullies the effects of writing apprehension. In sum, we saw perform a task by making a hash mark on a 10-mm line marked
beliefs about writing as affecting writing self-efcacy, and self- 0 to 100 (e.g., Nietfeld & Schraw, 2002).
efcacy as affecting apprehension.
For the rst research question, based on the extant
literature, we predicted that three beliefs about writing,
Transaction, Recursive Process, and Audience Orientation,
would relate signicantly and positively to writing self-
efcacy (Hypothesis 1a) and writing per- formance
(Hypothesis 1b), and relate negatively to writing appre-
hension (Hypothesis 1c). By contrast, we expected the
fourth belief, Transmission, to relate negatively to writing
self-efcacy (Hy- pothesis 1d) and writing performance
(Hypothesis 1e) and relate positively to writing
apprehension (Hypothesis 1f). We hypothe- sized that all
three types of writing self-efcacy would positively relate
to writing performance (Hypothesis 1g) and negatively
relate to writing apprehension (Hypothesis 1h). Finally, we
predicted that both types of writing apprehension would
negatively relate to writing performance (Hypothesis 1i).
For the second research question, we expected
Transaction, Recursive Process, and Audience Orientation
to signicantly and positively predict writing performance
(Hypothesis 2a) but that Transmission would negatively
predict writing performance (Hy- pothesis 2b). We further
hypothesized that all three types of writing self-efcacy
would positively predict writing performance (Hypothesis
2c) while both writing apprehension subscales would
predict negative variance in writing performance
(Hypothesis 2d). Finally, we predicted that the beliefs
about writing would explain variance in writing
performance above and beyond that accounted for by
writing self-efcacy and apprehension (Hypothesis 2e).

2. Method

2.1. Participants

The participants were 738 undergraduates at a large,

research- intensive, Hispanic-serving, public university in
south Florida. This study focused on undergraduates
because they receive considerable instruction and practice in
writing and because using undergraduates facilitates
comparison with previous research (e.g., Zimmerman &
Bandura, 1994). The students were enrolled in an educational
psychology class preservice teachers must take. Most (86%)
were women; 68% were Hispanic, 16% were white, 11% were
black, and 2% were Asian. Most were juniors (68%) or seniors
(24%). With respect to their parents education, 88% of the
participants fathers and 91% of their mothers graduated
from high school, 32% of their fathers and 32% of their
mothers earned a bachelors de- gree, and 14% of their
fathers and 13% of their mothers held an advanced degree.
On the other hand, 7% of the participants fathers and 5% of
their mothers had an 8th grade education or less. More than
37% reported that their rst language was Spanish, 31% En-
glish, and 3% another language; 28% said they were raised

2.2. Measures

2.2.1. Writing Self-Efcacy Index

Writing self-efcacy was assessed with the Writing Self-
Efcacy Index (WSI; Sanders-Reio, 2010), which was based on
Zimmerman and Banduras (1994) Writing Self-Regulatory
Efcacy Scale of 25 items primarily relating to the self-
regulation of writing projects and processes (e.g., I can start
writing with no difculty). Ques- tions addressing substantive
and mechanical writing issues were added, based on the
research and practice literature, for a total of 60 items.
Participants indicated their condence in their ability to
2.2.2. Modied Writing Apprehension Test valuable, such assessments have serious shortcomings: their
Daly and Millers (1975) Writing Apprehension Test often-inexible format, lack of authenticity, emphasis on
(WAT), a 5- point Likert scale, was used to facilitate speed over skill, discrimination against students un- familiar
comparison with previous research. Daly and Miller saw with the topic, and restraints on students use of writing
the WAT as assessing polar aspects of a single factor. strategies (Coker & Lewis, 2008). Writing researchers (e.g.,
Other researchers (e.g., Bline, Lowe, Meixner, Nouri, & Murphy & Yancy, 2008) and the National Council of Teachers of
Pearce, 2001) saw this measure as having two subscales, English (2008) have called for more ecologically valid
fear and avoidance of having ones written work indicators of writing performance. Here, writing performance,
evaluated, and enjoyment in sharing ones written work the dependent variable, was assessed via the students
with others. These subscales are often called Dislike of grades on a 5- to 8-page, structured, take-home assignment,
Writing and Enjoyment of Writing, and have 13 items an analysis of a video about three preschools in light of
each. Reliability estimates have been consistently greater learning theory.
than .9 (e.g., Bline et al., 2001). Based on the Participants completed the surveys during 20e40 min of
experiences of Smith et al. (2006), we added three items class time with respect to papers they write at the university.
to the WAT to assess appre- hension about making errors They did so after they understood the writing assignment, but
with respect to grammar, punctua- tion, and spelling (I before they could begin working on it, as Bandura
worry that I may make a grammatical error; Im afraid recommended (Pajares, 1997). Students received extra credit
that I will make a punctuation error; Im afraid that I may for participating; no one refused the opportunity. Two
miss a misspelled word or typo.) The entire modied scale professors, each of whom has taught this course, graded all of
has 29 items. the papers. The interrater agreement be- tween the graders, .
93, was calculated using correlational analysis, as directed by
2.2.3. Beliefs About Writing Survey Gay (1992).
Beliefs about writing were assessed with four subscales
(Audi- ence Orientation, Recursive Process, Transaction, and 3. Results
Transmission, 50 items) of the Beliefs About Writing Survey,
a 5-point Likert scale developed for a related study (BWS; 3.1. Examination of the measures
Sanders-Reio, 2010). These subscales align with the Kellogg
model (2008), as discussed above. The BWS is an expansion 3.1.1. Writing Self-Efcacy Index and the modied Writing
of White and Brunings (2005) Writing Beliefs Inventory, Apprehension Test
which had two subscales, Transaction and Transmission, PCAs with varimax rotation were used to examine the
previously described. structures
of the WSI and WAT. The WSI had three components according
2.2.4. Writing performance to the Kaiser Criterion and the scree plot: self-efcacy for
Assessment of student writing in much research and Substantive, Self-Regulatory, and Mechanical writing skills.
many high- stakes tests tends to be based on a single The eigenvalues for these components were 16.4, 10.9, and
sample, written in 20e 30 min in response to a prompt and 10.2, respectively; they accounted for 26.9%, 18.5%, and
graded with a single score (Hillocks, 2008). Although 17.9% of the variance, respectively,
for a total of 63.3% of the variance explained. Most of the Table 1
items from the Zimmerman and Bandura (1994) scale loaded Beliefs About Writing Survey: subscales and items.
on the Self- Regulatory subscale.
Transmission: 5 items, a .65
We expected that the three items added to the WAT to
Good writers include a lot of quotes from authorities in their writing.
assess apprehension about writing mechanics would Writing should focus on the information in books and articles.
strengthen the Dislike Writing subscale. However, the Kaiser The key to successful writing is accurately reporting what authorities
Criterion and the scree plot indicated that these items formed think. The most important reason to write is to report what authorities
a separate component, Apprehension About Grammar. One think about a subject.
When writing, its best to use proven formats and templates, and
item from the Enjoy Writing scale, I have no fear of my
then ll in the important information.
writing being evaluated, was dropped because its coefcient
was below .30 (12 items remained). Dislike Writing, Enjoy Transaction: 7 items, a .78
Writing is a process involving a lot of emotion.
Writing, and Apprehension about Grammar accounted for Writing helps me understand better what Im thinking about.
23.8%, 23.4%, and 9.1% of the variance, respectively, for a Writing helps me see the complexity of ideas.
total of 56.3% of the variance explained. The eigenvalues My thoughts and ideas become more clear to me as I write and
were 6.9, 6.8, and 2.6, respectively. rewrite. Writing is often an emotional experience.
Writers need to immerse themselves in their
writing. Writing helps new ideas emerge.
3.1.2. Beliefs About Writing Survey
As the BWS had not been validated, we sought to support Recursive Process: 5 items, a .72
Writing requires going back over it to improve what has been
the construct validity of this scale via a sequential exploratory
written. Good writing involves editing many times.
factor analysis (EFA)-conrmatory factor analysis (CFA) Writing is a process of reviewing, revisioning, and rethinking.
(Worthington & Whittaker, 2006). Using the SPSS 20.0 random Revision is a multi-stage process.
data-splitting pro- tocol, we divided the dataset into The key to good writing is revising.
two subsets of equal size
(ns 369). We then employed an EFA on the rst . clear.
Audience Orientation: 14 items, 85
dataset to a complicated
investigate the factor structure, reduce the number of Good writers make
items as
appropriate, and distinguish items that align with a simple 5 items; Transaction, 7 items; and Transmission, 5 items, in the
struc- ture (Nimon, Zigarmi, Houson, Witt, & Diehl, 2011). nal subscales.
Finally, we conducted a CFA with the second subsample, using
the remaining items specied by the EFA. EFA (subsample 1). Because of the hypothesized

underlying theoretical structure and our expectation that the
factors would correlate, we used principal-axis factoring and
promax rotation for the EFA (Nimon et al., 2011). According to
the scree plot and the Kaiser criterion, the EFA revealed four
interpretable factors explaining 43.2% of the variance in the
50 submitted items. The top four writing belief components
aligned with Kelloggs model (2008), supporting their use in
this study. Table 1 lists the items in these four subscales.

Audience Orientation, which advocates focusing on ones

readers and their interests. (22.3% of the variance;
eigenvalue, 6.9)
Recursive Process, which reects an iterative approach to
writing (8.1% of the variance; eigenvalue, 2.5)
Transaction (White & Bruning, 2005), which reects
affective and cognitive engagement (7.1% of the variance;
eigenvalue, 3.7) Transmission (White & Bruning, 2005),
which advocates stick- ing closely to the arguments,
information, and quotes provided by authorities (5.7% of
the variance; eigenvalue, 1.7)

Note that the items forming Transaction and

Transmission are not identical to those used by White and
Bruning (2005). Two items that White and Bruning included
in Transaction loaded on Recur- sive Process. In addition,
each subscale contains a new item: Writing helps new
ideas emerge in the case of Transaction, and When
writing, its best to use proven formats and templates, and
then ll in the important information for Transmission.
Finally, several items were dropped from each scale during
the exploratory factor analysis (see below).
Factor intercorrelations ranged from
- .10 to .54. Analysis of
the pattern and structure coefcients that cross-loaded or
were below
.40 suggested that 12 of the items could be deleted without
affecting content coverage (Hair, Anderson, Tatham, & Black,
1998). Audience Orientation had 14 items; Recursive Process,
informati [428] 986.64, p < .001) suggested that the data did not t
on Good writers are sensitive to their
readers. Good writers support their
the model adequately; yet, c2 tests have been shown to be
points effectively. especially
Good writers adapt their message to their readers. sensitive to larger sample sizes, for which statistical
The key to good writing is conveying information signicance is often the result (Kline, 1998). However,
clearly. Good writers keep their audience in mind. other methods demonstrated evidence of factorial validity.
Good writers thoroughly explain their opinions and 2
ndings. Good writers are oriented toward their The c /df ratio yiel-
readers. ded a value of 2.31, considered acceptable t (less than 3.0 is
Good writers are logical and best; Kline, 1998). The root mean square error of
convincing. Good writers are approximation (RMSEA.059; CI 90 .054, .061) was less than .

Good writing sounds natural, not stiff.
06, also sug- gesting acceptable t (less than .06 is
Good writers dont let their choice of words overshadow their recommended; Hu & Bentler, 1999). The comparative t
message. Its important to select the words that suit your index (CFI .91) and Adjusted Good-of-Fit-Index
(AGFI .90)
purpose, audience, and occasion. both indicated accept- able t (Kline, 1998) as well,
Good writers anticipate and answer their audiences questions.
although a criterion value closer to
.95 is desirable (Worthington & Whittaker, 2006). CFA (subsample 2). We arranged the 31 items identied

by the EFA in four empirically identied factors to conduct Reliability (overall sample). The Cronbachs alphas of the
the CFA with intercorrelated factors on the second Beliefs About Writing Survey subscales ranged from .65 to .85
subsample. Overall, the goodness-of-t indices revealed (see Table 2). All but one of these subscales (Transmission)
that the CFA model had an exceeded the
acceptable t to the data. The c2 analysis results .7 minimum that researchers prefer (e.g., Hair et al., 1998;
(c Nunnally, 1967). The Cronbachs alphas of the Writing Self-
Efcacy Index subscales ranged from .94 to .98, and those of
the modied WAT ranged from .87 to .92. Table 2 lists the
means and standard de- viations of each subscale.
Table 2
Reliabilities and sample items for the subscales of the Beliefs About Writing Survey, the Writing Self-Efcacy Index, and the modied Writing

Apprehension Test. Subscale No. items Cronbachs a Sample item

Beliefs About Writing Survey

Knowledge Telling
Transmission 5 . The most important reason to write is to report what
6 authorities think about a subject.
Knowledge Transforming
Transaction 7 . Writing helps me understand what Im thinking about.
Recursive Process 5 .7 Writing is a process of reviewing, revisioning, and
Knowledge Crafting 7 rethinking.
Audience Orientation 14 . Good writers anticipate and answer their audiences
8 questions.

Writing Self-Efcacy Index

Substantive 25 .98 I can logically make the points I want to convey.
Self-Regulatory 19 .94 I can start writing with no difculty.
Mechanical 11 .95 I can correctly punctuate the papers I write.

Modied Writing Apprehension Test

Enjoy Writing 12 .92 I like seeing my thoughts on paper.
Dislike Writing 13 .92 I expect to do poorly in composition classes even before I enter
them. Apprehension About Grammar 3 .87 Im afraid that I may make a punctuation error.

3.1.3. Grading The writing grade is a letter grade from A to F (with pluses and
All participants submitted their papers to Turnitin.com to
check for plagiarism. Two professors, one the actual
instructor and another who has taught this course,
assigned each paper a letter grade ranging from A to F,
including pluses and minuses. Note that the College of
Education required the students to earn at least a C on this
paper to pass the course. Those who fell short could
rewrite. Papers were evaluated with a rubric assessing
course content, substantive writing skills (i.e.,
development, clarity, and organiza- tion), and mechanical
writing skills (i.e., usage and grammar). Stu- dents had to
demonstrate basic competence in all three of these areas
to pass. For this study, grades were coded on a scale of
1e12 (from 1 for an F and 2 for a D- to 12 for an A). The
mean grade of the two professors was 8.1 (B-), with 30.2%
receiving an A or A-, and 28.9% earning less than the C
required. The actual course grades were almost identical
(mean grade of 8.2 [B-]). As part of the battery of
measures, students predicted the grade that they would
receive for this assignment. The correlation between the
grade students predicted and the grade they received was
.13 (p < .001) (Table 3).

Table 3
Means and standard deviations of the independent and dependent

Subscale Item M Subscale M SD

Beliefs About Writing Survey

Knowledge Telling
Transmission 2.4 11.8 3.1
Knowledge Transforming
Transaction 4.0 27.8 3.8
Recursive Process 4.1 20.7 2.8
Knowledge Crafting
Audience Orientation 4.1 57.0 6.8

Writing Self-Efcacy Index

Substantive 73.6 1840.1 407.3
Self-Regulatory 59.8 1136.4 309.7
Mechanical 67.9 747.4 213.1

Modied Writing Apprehension

Test Writing
Enjoy 3.4 41.0 9.6
Dislike Writing 2.3 29.8 9.9
Apprehension About Grammar 2.8 8.4 3.5

Writing Performance
Grade 8.1 3.0

(A 12, A- 11. F 1. 8.3 is equivalent to a B-.).

3.2. Examination of the correlations between the variables information published by authorities, negatively related to
both writing performance and self-efcacy, and positively
Table 4 lists the correlations between the variables, related to writing apprehension. Transmission was the only
which indicate that students who received higher grades belief about writing that positively correlated with
for their papers had higher writing self-efcacy and lower Apprehension About Grammar. All three writing self-efcacy
writing apprehension, as they did in previous studies subscales positively related to writing performance and
(e.g., Pajares & Valiante, 1997). Corre- lations between negatively related to writing appre- hension, including
writing self-efcacy and writing performance were within Apprehension About Grammar. Both Dislike Writing and
the range reported in previous research, but somewhat Apprehension About Grammar negatively related to writing
lower than the norm (e.g., Pajares & Valiante, 1999). performance. These results differ from White and Brunings
Notably, the new writing apprehension subscale, (2005), where Transaction related positively to writing
Apprehension About Grammar, had a stronger negative perfor- mance and self-efcacy, but not to apprehension,
correlation with writing per- formance than did Dislike and where Transmission negatively related to writing
Writing, the traditional measure of writing apprehension performance but did not relate to self-efcacy or
(Daly & Miller, 1975). apprehension.
Only the two new beliefs about writing, Audience
Orientation and Recursive Process, positively correlated 3.3. Relations among the research variables
with both writing performance and the three writing self-
efcacy subscales, and also negatively related to both To test the relations among the research variables
measures of writing apprehension. Audience Orientation Hypothesis 1, we rst ran a series of simultaneous regressions
had the strongest positive relations with writing (see Table 5). In each case, the hypothesis (Hypotheses 1a-i)
performance and self-efcacy. Transaction, the belief in was at least partially
engaging with the writing process, was the strongest 2
supported. The effect sizes (R ) associated with most of
positive correlate of all three writing self-efcacy the
subscales as well as Enjoy Writing. However, it did not regression results ranged from moderate (.06e.24) to large
relate to writing performance. Trans- mission, which (2'.25;
advocates basing ones papers on the arguments and
Table 4
Correlations among beliefs about writing, writing self-efcacy, writing apprehension, and writing performance.
Grade Beliefs About Writing Self-efcacy Apprehension

e Telling Knowledge Knowledg
Transforming e Crafting

Grade 1
Transmission Transaction Recursive Audience Substantive Self-Regulatory Mechanical Dislike Apprehension
Enjoy Writing About Grammar
Transmission -.20*** 1
Transaction .01 -.03* 1
Recursive .12** -.26*** .12** 1
Audience .18*** .03 .40** .09** 1
SE Substantive .18*** -.15*** .32*** .11** .30*** 1
SE Self-Regulatory .15*** -12** .30*** .04 .24*** .83*** 1
SE Mechanical .23*** -.13** .24*** .04 .25*** .72*** .63*** 1
Enjoy Writing .11** -.11** .45*** .07* .24*** .57*** .60*** .42*** 1
Dislike Writing -.17*** .20*** -.32*** -.10** -.19*** -.58*** -.59*** -.48*** -.76*** 1
Apprehension -.26*** .15*** .00 .00 -.01 -.22*** -.20*** -.43*** -.20*** .40*** 1
Note. N 738. *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001.

predict the students writing grades (R .29, F(4, 733)

Cohen, 1988). (When referring to the scales as they relate to 2
16.83, R .08, p < .001). Audience Orientationwas a
the regressions, we are referring to the scales scores.)
positive predictor, and Transaction and Transmission were
We rst tested our hypothesis that Audience negative predictors. Again,
Orientation, Recursive Process, and Transaction would Recursive Process was not a signicant predictor.
positively predict all three writing self-efcacy subscales, A simultaneous regression conrmed Hypothesis 1g, which
while Transmission would be a negative predictor predicted that all three writing self-efcacy subscales would
(Hypotheses 1a, d). The equations indicated that the posi- tively predict writing performance (R .24, F(3,
beliefs about writing predicted self-efcacy for the 734) 14.31,
following: 2
R .06, p < .001). As expected, Self-Efcacy for Mechanical
2 writing

Substantive writing skills: R .40, F(4, 733) 34.83, . skills positively predicted the writing grades, but, contrary
R 16, to our hypotheses, the remaining writing self-efcacy scales
p < .001. did not.
Writing Self-Regulation: R .35, F(4, 733) 24.94, 2 . Hypothesis 1h predicted that the writing self-efcacy
R 12, subscales would each negatively predict Dislike Writing
p < .001. 2
and Apprehension
Writing Mechanics: R .32, F(4, 733) .10, p < . About Grammar, and positively predict Enjoy Writing. Writing
21.17, R 001. Self- Efcacy predicted the following:
In each of these regressions, Audience Orientation and predictors of Dislike Writing, while Transmission was a
Trans- action were signicant positive predictors, while positive predictor. Transmission was the only signicant
Transmission was a signicant negative predictor, as predictor of Apprehension About Grammar. Recursive
hypothesized. However, Recur- sive Process was not a Process did not attain statistical signicance in any of these
signicant predictor in any of these equations. regression analyses.
We ran additional simultaneous regressions to test our In the regression equation testing whether Audience
hy- pothesis that Audience Orientation, Recursive Process, Orienta- tion, Recursive Process, and Transaction positively
and Trans- action would positively predict Enjoy Writing predict writing performance (Hypothesis 1b), and Transmission
and negatively predict Dislike Writing and Apprehension negatively predicts writing performance (Hypothesis 1e),
About Grammar (Hy- pothesis 1c), while Transmission beliefs about writing did
would positively predict Dislike Writing and Apprehension
About Grammar and negatively predict Enjoy Writing
(Hypothesis 1f). The beliefs about writing predicted the

Enjoy Writing: R .46, F(4, 733) 49.47, R 2 .21, p < .
Dislike Writing: R .38, F(4, 733) 30.41, R .14, p < .
Apprehension About Grammar: R .16, F(4, 733)
R .02, p .001.

As expected, Audience Orientation and Transaction

positively predicted Enjoy Writing, while Transmission was
a negative pre- dictor. Additionally, as hypothesized,
Audience Orientation and Transaction were negative
2 students writing grades while Enjoy Writing would be a
Enjoy Writing: R .61, F(3, 734) 145.37, R .37, p < .
001. positive predictor.
2 The three subscales related to writing apprehension did
Dislike Writing: R .61, F(3, 734) 148.36, R .38, p < predict writing performance (R
.27, F(3, 734)
.001. 18.66, R2 .07, p < .001). Apprehension About Grammar
Apprehension About Grammar: R .45, F(3, 734) negatively predicted writing performance, as expected,
63.35, while Enjoy Writing and
R .21, p < .001. Dislike Writing did not contribute signicantly to the
regression equation.
Self-Efcacy for Substantive writing skills and Writing
Self- Regulation positively predicted Enjoy Writing and 3.4. Predicting writing performance
negatively pre- dicted Dislike Writing, as hypothesized,
but did not predict Apprehension About Grammar. As
In accord with hierarchical regression protocol (Hair et
expected, Self-Efcacy for Me- chanical writing skills was
al., 1998), we used the research literature to guide the
a negative predictor of Dislike Writing, a powerful
order of en- try of the independent variables in the
predictor of Apprehension About Grammar, and a pre-
hierarchical regression analysis (beliefs about writing,
dictor of Enjoy Writing.
writing self-efcacy, and writing apprehension) for
Hypothesis 1i predicted that Dislike Writing and
predicting the criterion variable, writing per- formance (see
Apprehen- sion About Grammar would negatively predict the
Table 6). As discussed above, the order in which we
Table 5
Summary of simultaneous regression analyses predicting writing self- Table 6
efcacy, writing apprehension, and writing performance. Summary hierarchical regression analysis predicting writing performance
from beliefs about writing, writing self-efcacy, and writing apprehension.
Variable B SE B b
Writing Grade
Beliefs About Writing Predicting
Writing Self-Efcacy (Substantive) Variable b D R2
Audience 12.51 2.23 .21*** Step 1: Beliefs About Writing
Recursive 3.59 5.05 .03 Knowledge Telling
Transaction 24.47 3.96 .23*** Transmission -.15***
Transmission -.18.54 4.60 -.14*** Knowledge Transforming
Writing Self-Efcacy (Self-Regulatory) Transaction -.11***
Audience 7.08 1.73 .16*** Recursive Process .07*
Recursive -3.17 3.93 -.03 Knowledge Crafting
Transaction 18.81 3.08 .23*** Audience Orientation .19***
Transmission -.12.40 3.58 -.12** Block .08***
Writing Self-Efcacy (Mechanical)
Audience 5.83 1.24 .19***
Step 2: Writing Self-Efcacy
Recursive -2.32 2.73 -.03 Substantive .04
Transaction 9.43 2.12 .17*** Self-Regulatory -.02
Transmission -.9.38 2.49 -.14*** Mechanical
Writing Apprehension (Enjoy) .09*
Block .03***
Audience . . .
Recursive 1
-.02 0.12 0
Writing Apprehension
Transaction 1. . . .02
Transmission 0
-.31 0.11 41
-.11** Dislike Writing .01
Writing Apprehension (Dislike)
Apprehension About Grammar
Audie - . -.08* Block .
2 03*
nce . 0 -.01
1 6 -.19** **
Transaction -.72 .10 -.28***
Transmission .62 .11 .20***
* Total R
Writing Apprehension (Grammar)
Audience -.01 .02 -.02 Note. N 738. *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001.
Recursive .05 .05 -.04
Transaction .01 .04 .01
Transmission .18 .04 .16***
indicated that writing self-efcacy can nullify writing appre-
Writing Performance
Audience .09 .02 .22***
hension. Therefore, we entered the writing apprehension
Recursive .06 .04 . scores in the third block after the writing self-efcacy
Transaction -.07 .03 0
-.09*** beliefs.
Transmission -.19 .04 -.20** Together, the three blocks of variables explained 15.0%
of the variance in writing performance [R .39, F(10,
* Writing Self-Efcacy Predicting 12.30, p < .001]. As a group, the beliefs about writing in
Writing Apprehension (Enjoy)
Substantive .01 .00 .23*** the rst block
Self-Regulatory .01 .00 .41*** explained 8.4% of the variance in writing grades (R .29,
Mechanical .00 .00 -.01 F(4,
Writing Apprehension (Dislike) 733) 16.83, p < .001). Each of the four beliefs
Substantive -.01 .00 -.23*** independently and signicantly predicted writing
Self-Regulatory -.01 .00 -.34*** performance. Audience Orientation, the most powerful
Mechanical -.01 .00 -.10*
predictor, and Recursive Process
Writing Apprehension (Grammar)
Substantive .00 .00 .18** positively predicted performance, while Transmission and
Self-Regulatory .00 .00 .01 Transaction were negative predictors (Hypotheses 2a,
Mechanical -.01 .00 -.57*** b). The
Predicting Writing Performance three writing self-efcacy scales, entered in the second block,
Substantive .00 .00 .07 explained an additional 3.3% of the variance (R .34, FD
Self-Regulatory .00 .00 -.05
(3, 730)
9.23, p < .001, Hypothesis 2c); Self-Efcacy for
Mechanical .01 .01 -.23***
Mechanical writing skills was the only signicant predictor
Writing Apprehension Predicting
(positive). Finally,
Writing Performance the three writing apprehension variables entered in the third
Enjoy .01 .02 .02 block increased the variance explained by a nal 3.3%(R .39,
Dislike -.02 .02 -.07 FD (3, 727)
7.69, p < .001, Hypothesis 2d). As in previous
Grammar -.19 .03 -.23*** studies (e.g., Pajares & Valiante, 1997), the original WAT
Note. N 738. *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001. (the Dislike
Writing and Enjoy Writing subscales here) did not
entered the variables was guided rst by researchers (e.g., independently predict performance. However,
Apprehension About Grammar, the new subscale,
White & Bruning, 2005) who suggested that students beliefs
negatively predicted incremental variance in performance
about writing inuence their writing process, which includes
above and beyond the effects of both beliefs about writing
their se- lection of writing strategies. Using sound writing
strategies in turn creates mastery experiences that, and writing self-efcacy (b - p < .001).
according to Bandura (1997), enhance self-efcacy. Thus, we Inasmuch as beliefs about writing independently
entered the beliefs about writing in the rst block before the
variance in writing performance, Hypotheses 2a and 2b
writing self-efcacy beliefs in the second block. With respect
were supported. Likewise, because both writing self-
to apprehension, the Pajares groups path-analytic research
efcacy and apprehension uniquely predicted writing
(e.g., Pajares & Johnson, 1994)
performance beyond beliefs about writing, Hypotheses 2c
and 2d were supported as well. Overall, beliefs about
writing explained the most variance in writing
performance, with Audience Orientation being the most To demonstrate further that beliefs about writing, a form
powerful predictor. of domain-related beliefs, can predict writing performance
beyond the more researched writing self-efcacy and
3.4.1. Predictive validity writing apprehension
variables included in this study (Hypothesis 2e), we seems to engender may keep writers working pro- ductively
conducted another hierarchical regression analysis. In this during writing instruction and while crafting papers that
case we entered the two more extensively studied sets of
variables before the beliefs about writing, and entered self-
efcacy rst, followed by writing apprehension, and then
beliefs about writing. The ndings pro- vided evidence of the
predictive validity of the model presented here as beliefs
about writing explained an additional 5.8% of the variance in
writing performance after controlling for writing self- efcacy
(5.5%) and writing apprehension (3.2%). Notably, beliefs
about writing explained the most variance in the regression
equation even when entered in the third and nal step of the
equation. Finally, we ran the entire regression model
(primary) using only the original items of Zimmerman and
Banduras Writing Self-Regulatory Efcacy Scale (1994); this
measure explained less variance (1.3%) than the more
comprehensive Writing Self-Efcacy Index (3.3%).

4. Discussion

This study investigated whether beliefs about writing,

including two new beliefs, Audience Orientation and
Recursive Process, relate to writing performance and two
of its established correlates, writing self-efcacy and
apprehension. We hypothesized that the beliefs about
writing would predict variance in writing grades over and
above the effects of writing self-efcacy and writing appre-
hension. We further hypothesized that a new subscale
assessing apprehension about making grammatical and
other mechanical writing errors would strengthen the
traditional measure of writing apprehension (Daly & Miller,
1975), which assesses anxiety about showing others ones
written work and having it critiqued.

4.1. Beliefs about writing

The participants beliefs about writing did relate to their

writing self-efcacy (Hypotheses 1a, 1d), apprehension
(Hypotheses 1c, 1f), and performance (Hypotheses 1b, 1e),
and they did predict unique variance in the students
grades for their written work (Hypothesis 2a, 2b). We have
used these results to develop the following proles of the
four beliefs about writing we examined.
Audience Orientation, the most adaptive belief about
writing studied here, is associated with expert writing practice
(Kellogg, 2008). This belief reects a concern for the needs
and interests of ones readers. Items addressing classic
characteristics of good writing, such as development and
clarity, loaded on this belief. This makes sense because clarity
and development imply an audience for whom the text is
clear, understandable, and for whom concepts and
information are explained with appropriate detail. The adap-
tiveness of this belief conrms Ongs (1975) view that being
able to interpret ones text from a readers point of view is
one of the things that separates the beginning graduate
student or even the brilliant undergraduate from the mature
scholar (p. 19).
Recursive Process, a belief related to stage two of Kelloggs
(2008) model, sees each aspect of the writing process as a
time to rethink, revise, and revision. We suspect that this
belief would be even more adaptive in the context of longer
assignments and writing that is held to particularly high
standards, such as disser- tations and articles written for
Transaction, which maintains that writing involves
cognitive and emotional engagement, positively predicted
writing perfor- mance in White and Brunings (2005) study,
but it was a negative predictor here. However, Transaction
was a strong positive corre- late of Enjoy Writing and a
strong and negative correlate of both types of writing
apprehension. The enjoyment of writing that Transaction
entail many iterations. Thus, we expect that this belief, too, association was modest (Hypothesis 2c). In several of the
may be more adaptive in the context of more complex Pajares groups studies, writing self-efcacy nullied the
assignments written for higher standards. inuence of writing apprehension (e.g., Pajares & Valiante,
Transmission, which endorses the practice of relying on 1997). That occurred here as well, but only with respect to
au- thorities and their published arguments and quotes, the traditional measure of apprehension that Pajares used.
was mal- adaptive as those who embraced it received Apprehension About Grammar, a new subscale unavailable
lower grades on their papers and were less self- to Pajares, accounted for signicant, unique, negative
efcacious and more apprehensive about writing, variance in the regression equation.
particularly with respect to grammar and writing me- The disparity between the magnitude of these self-efcacy
chanics. This belief could easily foster a mechanical re- sults and those in the literature may stem from the
and/or safe, self- protective, and detached approach to differences between the studies. For example, the participants
writing that entails stringing other writers quotes in this study were undergraduates enrolled in an upper-level
together, plugging new text into established formats, or course, while most previous research involved younger
simply using new words to convey established lines of students. This study also used the grade students received on
argument laid out by authorities in encyclopedias and a take-home assignment to measure writing performance.
textbooks. Grading standards may have been more demanding than they
We acknowledge that the correlations between the beliefs would be for short assignments written on demand in 15e20
about writing and writing performance are modest. min. In addition, the wide disparity between the grade the
However, we contend that these relations are meaningful. participants predicted they would earn and the grade they

Even strong adherence to a belief about writing does not actually received (r .13) indicates that their self-efcacy
imply the skill or the will to act on that belief. As Kellogg judgments may not have been well calibrated. Many
(2008) states, appreciating that one has an audience does reported that they had commonly received high grades
not mean that one is able to see ones own text from the (usually As) on written assignments at other schools, but
perspective of that audience or that one has the skills, moti- their writing perfor- mance here was not in line with these
vation, or executive control to adapt ones message to that reports.
4.3. Limitations
4.2. Writing self-efcacy and writing apprehension
Although we investigated a number of beliefs about
As expected, participants with high writing self-efcacy writing, others are possible. Beliefs about writing are
had low writing apprehension and enjoyed writing more, culturally constructed and disseminated, and may relate to
and those who had low writing self-efcacy enjoyed the pedagogy of teaching writing (Silva & Nicholls, 1993),
writing less and were more apprehensive about writing previous writing experiences (White & Bruning, 2005), genre,
(Hypothesis 1h). Participants who were more and context. Thus, students beliefs about writing may change
apprehensive received lower grades on their papers, as they work with new genres or media, or as teachers
while those with high writing self-efcacy received higher develop new methods of writing instruction. In addition, the
grades on their papers, but the magnitude of the instruments developed for this study may need
1 J. Sanders-Reio et al. / Learning and Instruction 33 (2014)
0 1e11

further renement (e.g., replication with more diverse We would like to acknowledge Lucia Mason, as well as the
populations in terms of academic discipline and writing three anonymous reviewers who so thoroughly and
expertise). Further, the study used a correlational design, productively reviewed this manuscript.
which does not allow the exploration of causal relations.
The participants were primarily Hispanic females, limiting
the generalizability of the results to other groups. Finally,
writing performance, the dependent variable, was
operationalized as the grade participants received on only
one paper, which does not reect the variance in students
writing performance (Hayes, Hatch, & Silk, 2000).

4.4. Future directions

Further work with these variables is needed with other

writing assignments and contexts, and with participants
who are more varied and balanced with respect to gender,
race, ethnicity, and writing expertise. Research is needed
to identify the mechanisms by which beliefs about writing
may affect writing performance. It may be the case, as this
study indicates, that there is an affective link, as certain
beliefs about writing seem to foster writing apprehension
or, by contrast, increase the extent to which students like
to write. It is also possible, as many of the researchers
cited here theorized, that there is also a cognitive link
mediated by the writers choice of strategies or a students
openness to instruction in specic strate- gies. For
example, students might not attend to instruction in
revision if they believe that good writers do not revise but
write it right on their rst attempt. If beliefs about writing
do relate to openness to instruction, it will be valuable to
determine whether these beliefs are amenable to change
and whether certain changes in a students beliefs
foreshadow improvements in attitudes about writing and
writing performance itself.
These results also support the possibility that beliefs
about writing could be a worthwhile new leverage point for
teaching students to write. It may be useful to modify
writing instruction to emphasize the mindsets and
approaches associated with adaptive beliefs and minimize
those related to maladaptive and ineffective beliefs. For
example, assignments can be structured to encourage
students to have a stronger sense of audience.
Additionally, teachers can assign fewer papers and more
revision so that one- draft writing becomes the exception
and revision cycles the norm. Strategies, such as taking
notes from outside texts, selecting and incorporating
quotations, and varying and increasing the so- phistication
of ones vocabulary, can be presented so that they remain
exible and do not deteriorate into mechanical cutting and
pasting. Finally, the strong negative relation of Apprehension
About Grammar to writing performance indicates that we
may need to be less indignant about mechanical errors and
develop approaches to teaching grammar and correctness
that are less likely to produce counterproductive levels of

4.5. Conclusions

These results support Banduras (1997) views about the

impor- tance of beliefs in that a relatively new type of
belief, beliefs about a domain, accounted for signicant,
unique variance in performance. The fact that these beliefs
predict performance in conjunction with self-efcacy beliefs
supports the possibility that constellations of beliefs (e.g.,
domain-specic beliefs coupled with epistemic beliefs
[Mateos et al., 2010] or self-efcacy beliefs) may affect
performance in tandem.

J. Sanders-Reio et al. / Learning and Instruction 33 (2014) 1
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