A Meta-Analysis of Writing Instruction for Adolescent Students

Steve Graham, Dolores Perin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

961 Scopus citations


There is considerable concern that the majority of adolescents do not develop the competence in writing they need to be successful in school, the workplace, or their personal lives. A common explanation for why youngsters do not write well is that schools do not do a good job of teaching this complex skill. In an effort to identify effective instructional practices for teaching writing to adolescents, the authors conducted a meta-analysis of the writing intervention literature (Grades 4-12), focusing their efforts on experimental and quasi-experimental studies. They located 123 documents that yielded 154 effect sizes for quality of writing. The authors calculated an average weighted effect size (presented in parentheses) for the following 11 interventions: strategy instruction (0.82), summarization (0.82), peer assistance (0.75), setting product goals (0.70), word processing (0.55), sentence combining (0.50), inquiry (0.32), prewriting activities (0.32), process writing approach (0.32), study of models (0.25), grammar instruction (-0.32).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-476
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • adolescents
  • composition
  • instruction
  • meta-analysis
  • writing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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