Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Tim N. Taylor


In light of the Common Core State Standards, more research is needed on the importance and transfer value of personal writing high school classrooms. These standards have brought a more rigorous focus to student learning. With a stronger emphasis on argument and source-based writing, high school educators need to reexamine if or how personal writing should fit into curricula. For this study, approximately thirty students from each grade at Effingham High School were surveyed. The entire English department, as well as staff members from other disciplines at Effingham High School, were also surveyed. Prominent findings of the data show that English teachers, as well as teachers in other disciplines, use personal writing on a regular basis. The data supports the assumption that most teachers consider personal writing assignments to be any writing that draws on students' experiences or opinions. The data also supports the assumption that teachers are using personal writing assignments to lead students to larger-scale assignments. The Common Core State Standards require students to focus on academic and analytical writing both in English and non-English courses. The nature of the standards require teachers to design assignments that promote deeper learning as well as prompt higher-level thinking skills. All teachers need to work closely with colleagues to ensure that a focus is being placed on writing in other disciplines and writing assignments that demand higher-level critical thinking. Although previous research questions the efficacy of personal writing and personal narratives, writing assignments that use personal experience can be used for writing-to-learn activities and for scaffolding for more demanding and rigorous writing tasks.