Value in Academic Writing: An Inquiry into Reader Response

  • Nathaniel Voeller Montana State University


Much of the existing research regarding the way college and university writing instructors view undergraduate students and their writing suggests a lack of high regard, potentially leading to a poor long-term student ethos that could have a lasting impact on perceptions of student writing. However, research also shows the emergence of a different way of teaching and working in composition classrooms that values student contributions and strengthens relationships between students and instructors. This essay presents original survey data that reflects instructor views on written work based on the identification of the writer as an undergraduate student or a professor with a PhD. Results indicate that certain students may have established a long-term ethos respected by instructors in spite of students’ academic status, suggesting the potential for student contributions to be valued in ways that may be indicative of closer student and instructor work in composition studies.