A Case Study of Student Perceptions of Transfer from First- and Second-Year Writing to the Disciplines

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English


Department of English


Advisor: Patrick Thomas


First- and second-year required writing courses, typically housed within English departments and taught by English faculty, are valued by various stakeholders as a means of preparing students for future writing contexts. While these courses are intended to impart students with knowledge and skills to equip them for writing beyond the walls of the English classroom, students are often dubious of the value of these required writing courses to their future careers as students and professionals. As research on transfer becomes an increasingly-prominent area of focus within composition studies, the significance of students’ own perceptions of the value of required writing courses has emerged as a key factor in determining how successfully they will transfer what they learn in those classes to writing in the disciplines (WID). This case study draws on insights from over 200 survey responses and six interviews to determine students’ attitudes at the University of Dayton toward ENG 100 and 200 and the value of these courses to future writing contexts. Findings indicate that many students have misconceptions and questions about the purposes of these courses, which can contribute to distorted views of how transferrable the skills and knowledge gained in these courses will be. In addition to shedding light on students’ perceptions of transfer, this research argues for the importance of understanding students’ forward-reaching conceptions of the purpose and value of writing instruction in order to ensure that transfer is possible.


Composition, Education, Higher Education, Pedagogy, Teaching, transfer, first-year writing, FYW, second-year writing, writing in the disciplines, WID

Rights Statement

Copyright 2018, author