Project-directed writing assistance in construction management program

Elena Poltavtchenko, John S Tingerthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Employers and teachers have long been concerned about students majoring in various disciplines whose poor written English prevents them from reaching their full potential in the university and in their professional lives. In engineering and construction management programs in particular, the workplace success of new graduates is ultimately affected by their oral and written communication skills. However, these students' academic preparation for industry's needs in terms of written communication has been widely acknowledged as inadequate. For instance, the consistently low results on the communication skills section of the American Institute of Constructors exam taken by the students majoring in Construction Management show the urgent need for discipline-specific writing instruction. It is, therefore, imperative that such students be offered help with discipline-specific written discourse. Yet the number of writing intensive classes for such students and the number of professionals who specialize in developing writing programs and services for these students are rather small. This empirical study fills this gap by investigating how project-directed supplemental writing assistance affects writing quality in a junior-level construction management class. By using both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis, the researchers examined the students' progress in writing two drafts of a proposal and assessed students' performance on the following commonly problematic areas: formatting, clarity of data/results presentation, and appropriateness of writing for intended audience. The results of the study suggest that supplemental writing assistance has a significant overall positive effect on student writing, and is especially beneficial in heightening their audience awareness. The results of this study indicate that more writing opportunities and project-directed instruction in on disciplinary writing should be provided to students to help them become successful in their future careers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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