Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jeanne Sorrell


A public college in the Midwest experienced a significant increase of students enrolling in writing support classes, indicating a gap between the writing level students have leaving high school and the expected writing skills upon entering college. The local problem of inconsistencies in the writing skill level of students leaving high school and entering college on remedial status was addressed in this qualitative case study to better prepare them as competent students and eventual graduates. Perry’s theory of intellectual development provided the framework for understanding the challenges facing first-year students in support writing classes. The research questions focused on college student and faculty perceptions regarding writing skill support needs related to high school and the first year of college as well as what strategies could help develop the writing skills needed for success in college. Participants were seven students who were enrolled in and seven faculty who taught a support writing class. All were selected through purposeful sampling, interviewed individually, and audio recorded through Zoom. Qualitative data analysis included a verbatim transcription that was used to identify categories and common themes from interview data. The emergent themes were (a) moving away from the five-paragraph essay format, (b) how to write a thesis, (c) relationship building with professors, (d) understanding writing is a process, and (e) more support from high school teachers. Based on study findings, a 3-day professional development workshop was developed to foster collaboration between high school teachers and college professors in teaching writing. Positive social change may occur for students by providing stronger writing support help from staff while students are still in high school and providing continued writing support while enrolled in college.