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A new approach to improving and evaluating student workplace writing skills

Advances in Accounting Education

ISBN: 978-0-7623-1458-4, eISBN: 978-1-84950-519-2

Publication date: 27 June 2008


Over the last twenty years, many studies have examined the impact of structured writing programs on improving accounting students’ writing skills. In this chapter, we extend this research by using writing assignments that are representative of the workplace writing experiences that students encounter in their professional careers, by developing an evaluation instrument to assess the effectiveness of structured writing programs, and by using business advisory board members to evaluate improvement in students’ writing. Our results suggest that our new approach to designing writing assignments representative of workplace writing helps students improve their writing skills. Our business advisory board members’ ratings indicate that the overall quality of the students’ writing improved over two semesters of completing a series of workplace writing assignments. Specifically, our structured writing program improved students’ business writing skills in the areas of organization (paragraph unity, layout, and conclusion) and style and tone (conciseness and word choice). Students also improved in their ability to explain technical aspects of accounting work and in certain aspects of spelling, punctuation, and grammar. The results and tools provided in this study should assist other programs in either implementing or improving a structured writing program.


Lynn, S.A. and Vermeer, T.E. (2008), "A new approach to improving and evaluating student workplace writing skills", Schwartz, B.N. and Catanach, A.H. (Ed.) Advances in Accounting Education (Advances in Accounting Education, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 115-150.



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