Analysis of a survey on the teaching of writing in compulsory education: Teachers’ practices and variables

Análisis de una encuesta sobre la enseñanza de la escritura en la educación obligatoria: prácticas y variables del profesorado

Rut Sánchez-Rivero, Rui A. Alves, Teresa Limpo and Raquel Fidalgo


In this article, we analyse the reported use of evidence-based practices for the teaching of writing by teachers in compulsory education. These practices were taken from a review of meta-analysis studies in the field of writing in­struction. This study accounts for differences throughout compulsory education in the use of these instructional practices. We also analyse the effects of teachers’ variables such as per­sonal efficacy, general efficacy, attitudes and, preparation, on the instructional practices they use. Five-hundred and fifteen teachers of Spanish language and literature from dif­ferent primary and high schools in Castilla y León participated in the study. Participants completed an online questionnaire about how often they use evidence-based practices taken from an exhaustive review of meta-analyses in the field of writing instruction. In addition, we took measures of teachers’ personal and gen­eral efficacy, their attitudes towards writing and the teaching of writing, and their level of preparation to teach writing. The results show that teachers make little use of this type of in­structional practice, especially in high school. High school teachers reported significantly lower levels of personal efficacy and prepara­tion for the teaching of writing than teachers in primary grades. Teachers’ personal effica­cy level, their preparation for the teaching of writing, and their attitudes towards writing and its teaching influence their use of these instructional practices.

Please, cite this article as follows: Sánchez-Rivero, R., Alves, R. A., Limpo, T., & Fidalgo, R. (2021). Análisis de una encuesta sobre la enseñanza de la escritura en la educación obligatoria: prácticas y variables del profesorado | Analysis of a survey on the teaching of writing in compulsory education: Teachers’ practices and variables. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 79 (279), 321-340.


Arrimada, M., Torrance, M., & Fidalgo, R. (2018). Supporting first-grade writers who fail to learn: Multiple single-case evaluation of a Response to Intervention approach. Reading and Writing, 31 (4), 865-891.

Arrimada, M., Torrance, M., & Fidalgo, R. (2019). Effects of teaching planning strategies to first-grade writers. British Journal of Edu­cational Psychology, 89 (4),670-688.

Berninger, V. W., & Winn, W. D. (2006). Implica­tions of advancements in brain research and technology for writing development, writing instruction, and educational evolution. In C. A. MacArthur, S. Graham, & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of writing research (pp. 96- 114). Guilford Press.

Brindle, M., Graham, S., Harris, K. R., & Hebert, M. (2016). Third and fourth grade teacher`s classroom practices in writing: A national survey. Reading and Writing, 29 (5), 929-954.

Coker, D. L., Farley-Ripple, E., Jackson, A. F., Wen, H., MacArthur, C. A., & Jennings, A. S. (2016). Writing instruction in first grade: An observational study. Reading and Writing, 29 (5), 793-832.

Cutler, L., & Graham, S. (2008). Primary grade writing instruction: A national survey. Jour­nal of Educational Psychology, 100 (4), 907-919.

De Smedt, F., Van Keer, H., & Merchie, E. (2016). Student, teacher and class-level correlates of Flemish late elementary school children`s writing performance. Reading and Writing, 29 (5), 833-868.

Dockrell, J. E., Marshall, C. R., & Wyse, D. (2015). Teachers´ reported practices for teaching writing in England. Reading and Writing, 29 (3), 409-434.

European Union (2006, December 18). Recom­mendation of the European Parliament and the Council of 18th December 2006 on key competencies for lifelong learning.

Fidalgo, R., Torrance, M., Arias-Gundín, O., & Martínez-Cocó, B. (2014). Comparison of reading-writing patterns and performance of students with and without reading difficul­ties. Psicothema, 26 (4), 442-448.

Fidalgo, R., Torrance, M., & García, J.-N. (2008). The long-term effects of strategy-focussed writing instruction for grade sixth students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33 (4), 672-693.­dpsych.2007.09.001

Finlayson, K., & McCrudden, M. T. (2020). Teacher-implemented writing instruction for elemen­tary students: A literature review. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 36 (1), 1-18.

García, J.-N., & Fidalgo, R. (2003). Diferencias en la conciencia de los procesos psicológicos de la escritura: mecánicos frente a sustantivos y otros [Differences in awareness of writing cognitive processes: substantive vs., mechanical and other]. Psicothema, 15 (1), 41-48.

Gilbert, J., & Graham, S. (2010). Teaching writing to elementary students in grades 4-6: A national survey. The Elementary School Journal, 110 (4), 494-518.

Graham, S., Capizzi, A., Harris, K. R., Hebert, M., & Morphy, P. (2014). Teaching writing to middle school students: A national sur­ vey. Reading and Writing, 27 (6), 1015-1042.

Graham, S., & Harris, K. R. (2018). Evidence-ba­sed writing practices: A meta-analysis of existing meta-analysis. In R. Fidalgo, K. R. Harris, & M. Braaksma (Eds.), Design princi­ples for teaching effective writing: theoretical and empirical grounded principles (pp. 13- 37). Brill Editions.

Graham, S., Harris, K. R., Fink, B., & MacAr­thur, C. A. (2001). Teacher efficacy in writ-ing: A construct validation with primary grade teachers. Scientific Studies of Reading, 5 (2), 177-202.

Graham, S., Harris, K. R., MacArthur, C., & Fink, B. (2002). Primary grade teachers’ theoreti­cal orientations concerning writing instruc­tion: Construct validation and a nationwide survey. Contemporary Educational Psycholo­gy, 27 (2), 147-166.

Graham, S., Harris, K. R., & Santagelo, T. (2015). Research-based writing practices and the common core: Meta-analysis and meta-syn­thesis. The Elementary School Journal, 115 (4), 498-522.

Graham, S., McKeown, D., Kiuhara, S., & Ha­rris, K. R. (2012). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for students in the elementary grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104 (4), 879-896.

Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). A meta-analy­sis of writing instruction for adolescent stu­dents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99 (3), 445-476.

Jover, G. (2015). Presentación: la formación del profesorado de educación secundaria. Revi­sión y propuestas de future [Presentation: Secondary Education Teachers’ Training. Review and proposals for the future]. revis­ta española de pedagogía, 73 (261), 219- 223.

Kiuhara, S. A., Graham, S., & Hawken, L. S. (2009). Teaching writing to high school stu­dents: A national survey. Journal of Educa­tional Psychology, 101 (1), 136-160.

Koster, M., Bouwer, R., & van den Bergh, H. (2017). Professional development of teachers in the implementation of a strategy-focused writing intervention program for elementary students. Contemporary Educational Psy­chology, 49, 1-20.

Koster, M., Tribushinina, E., de Jong, P. F., & van den Bergh, H. (2015). Teaching children to write: A meta-analysis of writing interven­tion research. Journal of Writing Research, 7 (2), 249-274.

Kuhlemeier, H., Van Til, A., Hemker, B., de Kli­jn, W., & Feenstra, H. (2013). Balans van de schrijfvaardigheid in het basis- en special basisonderwijs 2 [Second evaluation of writ-ing skills in primary education and special education]. Central Institute for Test Devel-opment in Antwerp.

Lipsey, M. W., & Wilson, D. B. (2001). Practical meta-analysis. Sage Publications.

López, P., Torrance, M., & Fidalgo, R. (2019). The online management of writing process-es and their contribution to text quality in upper-primary students. Psicothema, 31 (3), 311-318.

Martin Vegas, R. A. (2015). La didáctica de la lengua y la literatura españolas en el máster en formación del profesorado de educación secundaria. Revisión y renovación [The di­dactics of Spanish language and literature in the master`s degree in secondary school teaching. Review and renovation]. revista española de pedagogía, 73 (261), 365-379.

Ministerio de Educación (2010). Evaluación general de diagnóstico de 2009. Educación primaria. Cuarto curso. Informe de resul­tados [General diagnostic assessment 2009. Primary education. Fourth year. Report of re­sults].

Ministerio de Educación (2011). Evaluación general de diagnóstico de 2010. Educación secundaria obligatoria. Segundo curso. In­forme de resultados [General diagnostic as­ sessment 2010. Compulsory secondary educa­tion. Second year. Report of results].

National Center for Education Statistics (2012). The nation`s report card: writing 2011.

Office for Standards in Education. (2005). The national literacy and numeracy strategies and the primary curriculum.

Pacheco, D. I., García, J.-N., & Díez, C. (2009). Autoeficacia, enfoque y papel de la práctica de los maestros en la enseñanza de la escri­tura [Self-efficacy, approach, and teacher’s practice in the writing teaching]. European Journal of Education and Psychology, 2 (1), 5-23.

Primary Education Royal Decree 126/2014, of 28 February. Spanish Official Gazette, 52, of 1 March 2014, pages 19349 to 19420.

Compulsory Secondary Education and Baccalau­reate Royal Decree 1105/2014, of 26 Decem­ber. Spanish Official Gazette, 3, of 3 January 2015, pages 169 to 546.

Rietdijk, S., van Weijen, D., Janssen, T., van den Bergh, H., & Rijlaarsdam, G. (2018). Tea­ching writing in primary education: Class­room practice, time, teachers’ beliefs and skills. Journal of Educational Psychology, 110 (5), 640-663.

Salvador Mata, F., & García Guzmán, A. (2009). El proceso de revisión en la composición es­crita de alumnos de educación primaria [The revision process in written composition of elementary school students]. revista espa­ñola de pedagogía, 67 (242), 61-76.

Santos Rego, M. A., & Lorenzo Moledo, M. (2015). La formación del profesorado de educación secundaria: pensando en la reconstrucción del proyecto Universitario [Training of se­condary education teachers: thinking about the reconstruction of the university project]. revista española de pedagogía, 73 (261), 263-281.

Torrance, M., Fidalgo, R., & Robledo, P. (2015). Do sixth-grade writers need process strate­gies? British Journal of Educational Psycho­logy, 85 (1), 91-112. bjep.12065

Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Attaining self-regu­lation: A social cognitive perspective. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 13- 39). Academic Press.

Rut Sánchez-Rivero has a Licen­tiate Degree in Educational Psychology and a Master’s in Educational Orienta­tion from the Universidad de León. She currently holds a pre-doctoral academic training contract in the Faculty of Education at the Universidad de León, where she has a variety of research and teaching responsibilities. Her main re­search interests focus on assessment and intervention in the area of reading and writing.

Rui A. Alves is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Educational Psychol­ogy and Sciences of the Universidade de Porto (Portugal). His principal re­search interests focus on studying cog­nitive and affective processes in writ­ing through on-line techniques such as HandSpy, created by his research team. He also focusses on developmental study and intervention in literacy and learning disorders.

Teresa Limpo is Assistant Profes­sor in the Faculty of Educational Psy­chology and Sciences of the Universi­dade de Porto (Portugal). Her principal research interests focus on studying the cognitive and motivational processes in­volved in writing and the development of evidence-based writing interventions and professional development pro­grammes to train teachers in the use of these practices.

Raquel Fidalgo has a doctorate in Ed­ucational Psychology and Sciences. She is currently Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at the Universidad de León. Her principal research interests focus on studying written composition from a psycho-educa­tional perspective in order to optimize its ac­quisition and preventing learning difficulties.



Data collected by PlumX Metrics. More information on the metrics collected can be found at