The structural relationship between writing attitude and writing achievement in first and third grade students

Steve Graham, Virginia Berninger, Weihua Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


This study tested three models of the structural relationship between the writing achievement of primary grade students and their attitude towards writing (defined here as an affective disposition involving how the act of writing makes the author feel, ranging from happy to unhappy). The three models tested were: (a) writing attitude influences writing achievement in a unidirectional manner, (b) writing achievement influences writing attitude in a unidirectional manner, and (c) the effects of writing attitude and achievement are bidirectional and reciprocal. The model that best fit the data was based on the assumption that writing attitude influences writing achievement. In addition, the direct path between attitude and achievement in this model was statistically significant. Although third grade students were better writers than first grade students, there was no statistical difference in younger and older students' attitude towards writing. In addition, girls were more positive about writing than boys, but there was no statistical difference in their writing achievement related to gender. This research extends models based on the cognitive and language processes of writing to include the role of attitude, which is an affective component of motivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-536
Number of pages21
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Writing achievement
  • Writing attitude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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