Kellogg, R.T. (2008). "Training writing skills: A cognitive developmental perspective." Journal of Writing Research, 1 (1), 1-26: http://neillthew.typepad.com/files/training-writing-skills.pdf
Writing skills typically develop over a course of more than two decades as a child matures and learns the craft of composition through late adolescence and into early adulthood. The novice writer progresses from a stage of knowledge-telling to a stage of knowledge transforming characteristic of adult writers. Professional writers advance further to an expert stage of knowledge-crafting in which representations of the author's planned content, the text itself, and the prospective reader's interpretation of the text are routinely manipulated in working memory. Knowledge-transforming, and especially knowledge-crafting, arguably occur only when sufficient executive attention is available to provide a high degree of cognitive control over the maintenance of multiple representations of the text as well as planning conceptual content, generating text, and reviewing content and text. Because executive attention is limited in capacity, such control depends on reducing the working memory demands of these writing processes through maturation and learning. It is suggested that students might best learn writing skills through cognitive apprenticeship training programs that emphasize deliberate practice.
Advanced writing skills are an important aspect of academic performance as well as of subsequent work- related performance. However, American students rarely attain advanced scores on assessments of writing skills (National Assessment of Educational Progress, 2002). In order to achieve higher levels of writing performance, the working memory demands of writing processes should be reduced so that executive attention is free to coordinate interactions among them. This can in theory be achieved through deliberate practice that trains writers to develop executive control through repeated opportunities to write and through timely and relevant feedback. Automated essay scoring software may offer a way to alleviate the intensive grading demands placed on instructors and, thereby, substantially increase the amount of writing practice that students receive.
This paper describes the implementation, process and results of adding a writing intensive component developed through a WID (Writing in the Disciplines) program to a 200 level course in Web design and development in the Computer Systems Department of the School of Business at Farmingdale State College. Department culture and philosophy about the changes mandated by the WID program are also discussed. The course’s goals and objectives were technical and could not be changed. Students were to learn Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Flash and use these software programs to create Websites that met research-grounded usability, functionality and design criteria. All writing assignments had to be linked to the course goals and objectives and related to what the students were to do in class and at home. The writing assignments were constructed to promote learning of the course material and to show how to present this material online as opposed to on paper. The key to success was found to be process writing, integration of the writing assignments with the course project and objectives, and extensive peer review. The key to success in the department was found to be an evolving awareness that writing can be used to enhance and support learning in technical classes.
Carter, Michael, Miriam Ferzli, and Eric N. Wiebe. "Writing to learn by learning to write in the disciplines." Journal of Business and Technical Communication 21.3 (2007): 278-302.
The traditional distinction between writing across the curriculum and writing in the disciplines (WID) as writing to learn versus learning to write understates WID's focus on learning in the disciplines. Advocates of WID have described learning as socialization, but little research addresses how writing disciplinary discourses in disciplinary settings encourages socialization into the disciplines. Data from interviews with students who wrote lab reports in a biology lab suggest five ways in which writing promotes learning in scientific disciplines. Drawing on theories of situated learning, the authors argue that apprenticeship genres can encourage socialization into disciplinary communities.