Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Gerald Begy


Previous research on writing competency and writing apprehension suggests that the lack of one (competency) increases the level of the other (apprehension). The same also seems to be true for the reverse—the greater the competency, the lower the apprehension. Yet, many questions still remain as to the causes of writing apprehension and how to elicit its reduction.

Researchers also contend that the whole language approach is more effective in instructing students how to write in terms of content, originality and creativity, as opposed to the basal/skills language program which concentrates on the mechanics of writing. This study combines the questions on writing competency and writing apprehension and the debate between whole language vs. basal/skills language programs. This study was conducted to determine: 1) if students participating in a whole language program exhibit a significant difference in writing apprehension to students participating in a basal/skills program and 2) if the same whole language students exhibit a significant different level of writing competency than their basal/skills language counterparts.

The study utilized four sixth grade classrooms, two participating in a whole language program and two in a basal/skills language program. Second grade reading scores were obtained to determine if the groups were the same in terms of reading achievement, which in this case they were similar. The Writing Apprehension Test (Daly & Miller, 1975a) was administered to all students and scored as directed by the author. A writing sample was collected and scored according to the Basic Writing Scale (Wangberg & Reutten, 1986).

The results of this study indicated that the students showed no significant difference in writing apprehension regardless of the program in which they participated. A significant difference was found, however, between the groups in terms of writing competency. The whole language group scored significantly higher than the basal/skills language groups.