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“Writin’ain’t my thang”: creating high school student writers with ongoing support through an urban school–teacher education partnership

Tonya B. Perry (Office of Academic Affairs, Miles College, Fairfield, Alabama, USA)
Teaira Catherine Lee McMurtry (School of Education, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA)

English Teaching: Practice & Critique

ISSN: 1175-8708

Article publication date: 27 July 2023

Issue publication date: 31 July 2023




The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of a year-long writing intervention located in an urban high school in partnership with a university teacher education professor and the students. The goals were as follows: to increase student self-efficacy about writing overall; to increase the number of students who successfully improve scores on writing assessments; and to increase ACT exam scores, making students more qualified candidates for college admission.


The main method used for the research is a quantitative longitudinal study method, which involves collecting from each student, at pre-intervention and post-intervention, a writing sample. There are 54 students in the study.


Findings showed an increase in student proficiency overall, with an increase of 0.53 holistically. Effective writing instruction asks students to write often to develop their writing will and skill. There are many more factors beyond the teaching of “ACT prep” writing skills that must be considered, particularly when teaching marginalized groups. This study found that the following are important: building and sustaining positive rapport; using their language as part of the learning process; creating space for students to write regularly; writing on a variety of topics; reflecting on and monitoring their writing; and receiving timely and targeted feedback.


This paper discusses the impact of the writing intervention and describes the practices that were a part of the intervention for marginalized students in an urban school to increase their writing scores.



Funding: The technology for the students was funded by a local grant from AT&T.


Perry, T.B. and McMurtry, T.C.L. (2023), "“Writin’ain’t my thang”: creating high school student writers with ongoing support through an urban school–teacher education partnership", English Teaching: Practice & Critique, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 299-312.



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