How Was Your Session at the Writing Center? Pre- and Post- Grade Evaluations

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Julie and Jean-Paul are no longer at Bryant.




Do students reinterpret their tutoring experiences after receiving grades on tutored assignments? This study investigated students' perceptions of the efficacy of consultations at a college Writing Center(WC) before and after the assignment was graded. 53 students in apsychology course were individually tutored by WC consultants, immediately after which the students evaluated the experience using Likert scales. Approximately one week after receiving their grade and three weeks after making the initial evaluation, students completed a detailed evaluation of their experience. Overall, ratings on the primary "satisfaction with experience" scale were lower after grades had been received than before. However, students receiving As lowered their ratings less than those receiving Bs, Cs, and Ds. This finding may be explained by the self-serving bias in which the A students attributed their success after the fact less to the WC and more to their own ability, hence the slight lowering of their ratings, and the B, C, and D students blamed the WC for their performance, and lowered their ratings more substantially. Additionally, students who received lower grades reported using less of the advice offered by the WC and felt that the WC could have done more to help them. At the same time, these students reported that they could have worked harder on their papers, suggesting they may be coping with an unsatisfactory grade by believing they had the ability to receive a high grade if only they had worked harder and not been hindered by the WC. Additional findings and implications for students, professors, and writing centers are discussed.

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