Community college writers' metaknowledge of effective writing


  • Katherine A. Abba
  • Shuai (Steven) Zhang
  • R. Malatesha Joshi



community college, writing metaknowledge, procedural and declarative knowledge in writing, Coh-Metrix


The purpose of the present study was to examine students’ metaknowledge of Procedural Knowledge (effective writing procedures) and Declarative Knowledge (knowledge of the characteristics of effective writing) with community college students through two open-response questions. Additionally, we examined common patterns of writing metaknowledge among responses to determine how these impacted their writing, utilizing the results from Coh-Metrix analyses of their writing samples. A total of 249 students from a large community college in Southwestern United States participated in the study.
Analysis of their results showed participants reported commonly acknowledged ideas regarding metaknoweldge of effective writing in terms of Procedural and Declarative knowledge. Students focused on goal setting/planning, establishing purpose, writing, and revising when discussing Procedural Knowledge of writing and clarity, audience, grammar, and spelling when discussing Declarative Knowledge. A Latent Class Analysis (LCA) of a smaller group, consisting of 146 L1 English students, showed that students’ responses regarding Procedural and Declarative Knowledge did not significantly affect written performance, leading us to question students’ consistent application or understanding of writing metaknowledge. Instructional implications include encouraging students to examine their metaknowledge of writing and how it directly relates to the written product, to identify misuse or misconceptions and focus instruction.



How to Cite

Abba, K. A., Zhang, S. (Steven), & Joshi, R. M. (2018). Community college writers’ metaknowledge of effective writing. Journal of Writing Research, 10(1), 85–105.