Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Writing apprehension continues to be a barrier to effective student writing, and has been found to have an impact on choices of course, major, and even career. Yet the causes of writing apprehension have not been fully investigated. This study examined the relationship of comment placement, appearance, tone, and completeness to student writing apprehension levels, and to student perceptions of comment tones, which could also affect writing apprehension.

An original survey instrument was designed and tested for use in this study. It was administered to freshmen enrolled in first-semester English composition classes, as well as to seniors preparing to graduate at a small upper Midwestern university. Writing apprehension was measured using Daly and Miller's 1975 Writing Apprehension Scale. The data collected from 121 freshmen and 79 seniors was tested for correlations between aspects of instructor comments, and students' writing apprehension levels.

The results of those statistical analyses seemed to indicate that some specific aspects of instructor comments could be related to student perceptions of the tone of those comments. Of the aspects of instructor comments that were considered, only comment tone had a direct relationship with writing apprehension scores, but a number of other aspects of teacher comments, including placement, color, and completeness, were found to be related to student perceptions of tone, and thus indirectly related to writing apprehension levels.

Included in

Psychology Commons