This study attempted to find if a relationship exists between teacher grading criteria and the writing anxiety in high school students. By using a factor analysis of completed Daly-Miller Writing Apprehension Tests and a qualitative analysis of a teacher grading criteria survey, a comparison of the two indicated what appears to be a relationship based on three factors; 1) anticipatory anxiety, 2) self-expression, and 3) outside evaluation. The most significant factor in the factor analysis was the anticipatory anxiety. None of the teacher grading criteria appeared to address this factor nor the self-expression factor. There does appear to be a direct relationship between the outside evaluation factor found in the Writing Apprehension Test and the 20 out of 21 grading criteria that deal with outside evaluation found in the teacher survey.
Three suggestions for immediate action were given. First, that teachers begin addressing the prewriting stage to help reduce anticipatory anxiety. Second, that teachers begin allowing students more opportunity to express themselves as a form of self communication and communication to others. Third, that teachers allow students to experiment and understand the grading criteria used and perform self-editing or peer editing of their essays. Teachers also need to realize the value of not evaluating all student writing.
One suggestion for further research was given. Based on the calculated anxiety rates from the Writing Apprehension test, there appears to be significant difference in the anxiety levels between genders. Further research needs to address these differences in order to understand how the writing experience is different for each gender.
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