What difference a writing centre makes: a small scale study

Rowena Yeats, Peter Reddy, Anne Wheeler, Carl Senior, John Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – Academic writing is often considered to be a weakness in contemporary students, while good reporting and writing skills are highly valued by graduate employers. A number of universities have introduced writing centres aimed at addressing this problem; however, the evaluation of such centres is usually qualitative. The paper seeks to consider the efficacy of a writing centre by looking at the impact of attendance on two “real world” quantitative outcomes – achievement and progression.
Design/methodology/approach – Data mining was used to obtain records of 806 first-year students, of whom 45 had attended the writing centre and 761 had not.
Findings – A highly significant association between writing centre attendance and achievement was found. Progression to year two was also significantly associated with writing centre attendance.
Originality/value – Further, quantitative evaluation of writing centres is advocated using random allocation to a comparison condition to control for potential confounds such as motivation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-507
Number of pages9
JournalEducation and Training
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • skills
  • written communications
  • students


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