Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Caroline Dadas

Committee Member

Melinda Knight

Committee Member

Emily Isaacs


English language--Composition and exercises--Study and teaching, Advanced placement programs (Education)


In this paper, I explore how employing process theory can aid eleventh grade AP English Language and Composition students in adjusting their writing to an unfamiliar composing task: the AP exam’s argument essay. I also investigate how to assist developing writers in adapting their composing to the unknown through their use of prewriting, drafting, and revising, and in their use of these reflective writing strategies that Mary Jo Reiff and Anis Bawarshi (2011) call “discursive resources”: accessing prior knowledge, possessing genre awareness, crossing boundaries, developing problem solving dispositions, and identifying as novice writers. Furthermore, I examine how to implement these practices into classroom instruction through Nancie Atwell’s writer’s workshop, where the teacher models how an expert composer converts her writing to an unfamiliar assignment, and confers individually with her learners and provides them feedback on their composing performances. In my attempt to evaluate the students’ employment of these writing practices, I gather data from surveying and interviewing the participants in the study, and by reading their reflective journal responses. I end this paper discussing the results of these data and share observations about how educators can teach writing and how students can perceive it.

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