Incorporating Course-Embedded Peer Tutors in an Accelerated Developmental Writing Program
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This dissertation presents an in-depth case study investigating the developmental writing program at a small, private Christian liberal arts university in the Southwest United States. This developmental writing program featured an accelerated workshop model with course-embedded peer tutors. Research questions centered on understanding the experiences of students enrolled in the developmental writing workshop classes and comparing student success rates (as determined by final course grade) across five consecutive fall semesters. The findings of this research project suggest that the program model may have contributed to increases in student success in first-year writing courses and improvements in freshman-to-sophomore retention. Students enrolled in the developmental writing program indicated that they felt supported and that they appreciated having a designated time and place in which to write and getting multiple perspectives on their writing. Students also indicated that the developmental writing workshop helped improve their grades and helped prepare them to complete college-level writing tasks in the future. In both the interviews and on student feedback forms, most students indicated that they found the course-embedded peer tutor to be helpful, although the extent to which students preferred working with the peer tutor, as opposed to working with a professional tutor in the Writing Center, varied among different subgroups of students. While not all students expressed satisfaction with the writing program, the majority of student feedback about the program was positive.