Award Date

May 2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Edward Nagelhout

Second Committee Member

Jeffrey Jablonski

Third Committee Member

Kaitlin Clinnin

Fourth Committee Member

Chyllis Scott

Number of Pages



For decades, considerable scholarship has explored how teachers can respond more effectively to student writing. There has also been significant research on how first-year-composition concepts can be transferred by students to other arenas of discourse outside of this required course. This thesis begins with a brief discussion on the meaning of transfer. Then, with the Council of Writing Program Administrators’ Outcomes (knowledge of conventions, rhetorical knowledge, critical thinking, processes) as a starting point, I redefine and pare down the seven response modes described by Elaine O. Lees to five types of response (calling for correction, reminding, explaining, suggesting, and assigning) designed to create a framework for understanding how teachers can respond to student writing more effectively.

Additionally, four recommendations are presented for maximizing the effectiveness of teacher response, while providing students a voice in the conversation on the page. The first recommendation is for teachers to underline content in the draft, calling the student’s attention to issues in the text they must revise or to a suggestion the teacher has made. The second recommendation is to use peer response as an extension of teacher response by having peer groups work together to address each comment provided by the teacher on their drafts. The third recommendation calls on teachers to take an individualized method of response based on the disciplines students plan on joining. The final recommendation is the inclusion of critical thinking challenges that inquires about the student’s source vetting and tests their logic and reasoning skills through additional questioning and assigning within the teacher response. The purpose of this thesis is to theorize how the use of these recommendations and response types can serve as a catalyst for objectives to be met and for transfer to occur for FYC students.


First Year Composition; Teacher Response


Liberal Studies | Teacher Education and Professional Development

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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