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ERIC Number: ED474145
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Jun
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Use of Biglan Categories in Assessing General Education Courses.
Sinclair, Andrea; Muffo, John
Despite growing efforts to take a more focused approach to teaching writing across academic disciplines, relatively little is known about how writing-intensive courses impact students' perceptions of writing. This study addressed this question by investigating differences across academic disciplines in student perceptions of writing. Anthony Biglan's (1973a; 1973b) model for classifying academic disciplines served as the conceptual framework guiding this exploratory analysis. The sample consisted of 2,570 undergraduates enrolled in writing-intensive courses in the spring semester 2001 in 40 departments. The cases were randomly split in half so that 50% were used for exploratory analyses, and the remaining were used to validate the results from the exploratory analyses. Results indicate that Biglan's classification scheme can be used to provide some insight into the types of teaching methods most appropriate for teaching writing in particular disciplines. With regard to the "hard/soft" dimension, results indicate that, in general, student in "hard" disciplines (better structured and more replicable content) and the "pure" disciplines (less applied) were more likely to agree strongly that revising improves understanding of the subject matter and having access to the writing of other students improves subject understanding. Students in the "life" disciplines were more likely to agree that revising improves understanding and that the course assignments as a whole improve writing than were students in the "nonlife" disciplines. The study provides support for the"pure/applied" and "life/nonlife" dimensions, but does not support the "hard/soft" dimension, which has consistently received the strongest support in previous investigations. (Contains 5 tables and 18 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A