The Empirical Development of an Instrument to Measure Writerly Self-Efficacy in Writing Centers
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Empirical Development of an Instrument to Measure Writerly Self-Efficacy in Writing Centers

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Post-secondary writing centers have struggled to produce substantial, credible, and sustainable evidence of their impact in the educational environment. The objective of this study was to develop a college-level writing self-efficacy scale that can be used across repeated sessions in a writing center, as self-efficacy has been identified as an important construct underlying successful writing and cognitive development. A 20-item instrument (PSWSES) was developed to evaluate writerly self-efficacy. 505 university students participated in the study. Results indicate that the PSWSES has high internal consistency and reliability across items and construct validity, which was supported through a correlation between tutor perceptions of client writerly self-efficacy and client self-ratings. Factor analysis revealed three factors: local and global writing process knowledge, physical reaction, and time/effort. Additionally, across repeated sessions, the clients' PSWSES scores appropriately showed an increase in overall writerly self-efficacy. Ultimately, this study offers a new paradigm for conceptualizing the daily work in which writing centers engage, and the PSWSES offers writing centers a meaningful quantitative program assessment avenue by (1) redirecting focus from actual competence indicators to perceived competence development and (2) allowing for replication, causality, and sustainability for program improvement. Key Words: Self-efficacy, Writing, Cognition, Perceived Competence Development, Writing Center, Assessment, Student Learning, Post Secondary

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