Improving Writing Skills of Low-Income High School Students

Andrew Tobin, '10, Leah A. Nillas

Research output: Faculty Advisor of Undergraduate Research


Students from low-income households are often the most at risk for failing or dropping out of high school and many of those students come from minority households (Johannessen, 2004). For example, the dropout rate in 2007 among Hispanic students was nearly three times the national average (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2007). The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of strategies I used in writing instruction for students from low-income households. I conducted this self study research in a class of 30 high-school seniors in a racially and economically diverse school in Central Illinois. Through the use of technology, allowing students autonomy in designing their projects, and providing opportunities for peer review, I aimed to improve the writing skills of my students. Initial data analysis showed that these strategies were effective in increasing student engagement in their writing and had a positive effect on their formal writing skills. The results of this study suggest that all teachers working with underprivileged students should allow student autonomy, create a positive classroom community, and connect learning with student's lives outside of the classroom.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2010


  • Education
  • Mathematics

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