Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice (M.S.)

Degree Program

School of Criminal Justice


The development of effective writing skills is widely acknowledged as a primary goal in higher education. For this reason, instructors have devised several ways to help students develop and improve their writing proficiency. Within this repertoire of strategies, the most common and often most practical method is providing feedback, particularly written feedback, on student’s writing assignments. Because feedback is commonly recognized as advantageous in this respect, and because there continues to be a keen “interest in how to provide more effective, relevant feedback to students” (Wiltse, 2002, p. 127), various aspects of the feedback communication and related processes have been examined.

While this body of research has uncovered a wide range of potentially relevant variables which likely influence the efficacy of feedback communications, there remains little agreement as to a common set of dynamics that can facilitate the extent of improvement that most instructors hope to achieve. This presents several challenges for those charged with achieving the collective goal of improving student writing, as it leaves little to go on but individual experiences. The present research was therefore conducted in an effort to explore variables suggested across the literature as pertinent and likely to contribute to this efficacy. By collectively examining these variables, the research was able to build on the existing literature by providing empirically grounded support to reinforce the value of written feedback and a replicable method for exploring the multitude of variables that contribute to its effectiveness.


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