Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Matthew Ohlson

Second Advisor

Dr. David Hoppey

Third Advisor

Dr. Amanda Pascale

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Daniel Dinsmore

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Brian Ludden

Department Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Gregg

College Dean

Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey


Writing is an integral part of achievement in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA). Across content areas, literacy standards for writing stipulate, “students should demonstrate increasing sophistication in all levels of language use” (, 2019). Many teachers are reluctant to incorporate writing in courses since assigning writing activities, reading, and grading of student writing and can be seen as a laborious task (Peha, 2003). This research, conducted in a Title 1 middle school in northeast Florida, is a bounded case study on the effects of writing on the physical occurrences of students’ level of engagement. Because student engagement in the classroom promotes understanding and achievement (Collins, 2007; Gunuc, 2014; Valentine, 2005; Zinsser, 1989), this research consists of observations of students’ physical characteristics which indicate engagement, and showcases classroom practices that have writing as part of learning. Findings of this work suggest that inclusion of writing activities increases student engagement, which is known to benefit learning.