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Title: Using Writing Center Peer Tutors as a Means to Improve Mechanical Engineering Technology Student Writing
Despite the well-established importance of written communication skills for students in STEM disciplines, the quantitative assessment of STEM writing remains an evolving field. The present work seeks to measure the effectiveness of “generic” writing center tutors on the technical writing skills of senior-level Mechanical Engineering Technology students. A set of nineteen student analysis reports selected from a capstone design course were used as the source of the data. The reports were assessed both before and after a tutoring session using a version of the AAC&U VALUE rubric and a voice-development-style-diction method developed by the authors. By both methods, the improvements in student writing from before the tutoring session to afterwards were marginal at best, with some measures even showing a decrease in performance. The sole exception was that a significant increase in hedging, boosting, and attitude words appeared in the students’ work, indicative of a change in diction. It is concluded that an intervention by a “generically” trained writing center tutor has little effect on the quality of student writing outside of that due to the inclusion of additional adjectives. An intervention by tutors specifically trained using the WATTS methodology is proposed as a means to address this. Such an intervention will be investigated as an extension to the current work.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2013496
NSF-PAR ID:
10356359
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
ASEE 2022 Annual Conference & Exposition
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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