The Effects of Writing on Learning in Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics: A Meta-Analysis

Steve Graham, Sharlene A. Kiuhara, and Meade MacKay. The Effects of Writing on Learning in Science, Social Studies, and Mathematics: A Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research 90 (2), pages 179-226. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654320914744

This meta-analysis examined if students writing about content material in science, social studies, and mathematics facilitated learning. Studies in this review were conducted with students in Grades 1 to 12 in which the writing-to-learn activity was part of instruction. As predicted, writing about content reliably enhanced learning (effect size = 0.30). It was equally effective at improving learning in science, social studies, and mathematics as well as the learning of elementary, middle, and high school students. Writing-to-learn effects were not moderated by the features of writing activities, instruction, or assessment. Furthermore, variability in obtained effects were not related to features of study quality. Directions for future research and implications for practice are provided.

"You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be — I had a mother who read to me." — Strickland Gillilan