Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Chair

David Daves

Committee Chair Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 2

Rose Jones

Committee Member 2 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

Committee Member 3

James T. Johnson

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

David Walker

Committee Member 4 Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education


The ability to write is vital in many academic areas (U.S. Department of Education, 2011). Roughly 70 percent of U. S. students in a representative sampling during 2010 (grades 8 and 12) scored only at the Basic (fractional grasp of prerequisite information and abilities) level and below (U.S. Department of Education, 2011).

Fifty-four percent of students in the eighth grade and 52 percent of students in the twelfth grade in the United States scored at the Basic level. Another 20 percent of students in the eight grade and 21percent of students in the twelfth grade scored below the Basic level. According to the U.S. Department of Education in 2011, the need for effective writing teaching and evaluation was more germane than ever.

Due to low performance on previous assessments in 1998, numerous states and school districts developed strategies to advance the worth of writing that would be reactive to individual student needs (Graham, Harris, Fink-Chorzemper, & MacArthur, 2003). Wade (2005) concluded that interventions are needed to assist students in gaining a broader grasp of creating increasingly complex text to meet the growing challenges and requirements of rigorous curricula. Studies conducted by Davis (2003) revealed that autobiographical recall was shown to be an effective strategy in drawing out students’

emotions and interests. Fartoukh, Chanquoy, and Piolat (2012) analyzed the way emotion affected complex cognitive processes by using short-term autobiographical narrative writing. An analysis of variance revealed that students work contained a significantly greater number of text words when a vocabulary of positive and negative emotions was utilized by teachers in short-term writing strategies than when a neutral condition was employed (Fartoukh et al., 2012).

Teachers struggle with innovative and creative ways to increase communication and cognitive function for all students, including students who are exceptional and twice exceptional (Besnoy, 2009). Two fast growing areas of exceptionality in the United States are Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (Schwartz and Cohen, 2013) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (Sansoti, 2010). All twice-exceptional students possess strong intellectual and abstract thinking skills that can be developed by strategies that emphasize meta-cognitive control. Emergent approaches suggested that cognitive development occurs when students interact with the environment (Hillocks, 1987).

The purpose of this study was to conduct research using a writing strategy compendium intervention designed to increase cognitive ability for the participants. The scripted writing lessons included brainstorming, autobiographical recall, illustrative art, graphic organizers, peer and teacher feedback, and self-assessment. The compendium can serve as a tool for teachers to increase cognitive function during language arts venues and extend to all other subject areas. The results of the study will help educators understand

the necessity for alternative measures of cognitive development for both exceptional

and non-exceptional students as well as all students who may require remediation.