English Ph.D. Dissertations


Dispositions and Dual Credit: A Study on Student Attitudes toward Writing

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


English (Rhetoric and Writing) PhD

First Advisor

Neil Baird (Advisor)

Second Advisor

Lee Nickoson (Committee Member)

Third Advisor

Sue Wood (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Kara Taczak (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Audrey Roberts (Other)


Dual-credit programs, also known in the state of Ohio as the College-Credit-Plus program, is an initiative across the United States to provide another method for high school students—and sometimes even younger students—to earn postsecondary credit before graduating from high school. This project investigates the experience of dual-credit students who enroll in first-year writing courses, looking specifically at the dispositions—attitudes—that they bring into their courses and seeking background information regarding how the dispositions were formed. Specifically, the research focuses on two particular questions: 1. How do dual credit students live the dispositions of problem-exploring, answer-getting, self-efficacy, and self-regulation? 2. How are these dispositions formed? The research conducted in this project takes the form of an ethnographically informed case study approach, which is focused on the experiences of two dual-credit students. Data was collected through a series of interviews with each of the two research participants, coded according to a Grounded Theory approach, and triangulated with additional interviews that were conducted with influential individuals in their lives. The findings are presented in Chapter III: A “Model” Student and Chapter IV: Transferring From the Court to the Classroom. The project concludes with Chapter V. This chapter first presents a discussion of the previous two chapters on the findings of Liz and Rosie’s interviews and then moves into a discussion of the implications. Ultimately, the project concludes with implications geared toward multiple stakeholders associated with dual-credit composition: Writing Program Administrators (WPAs), dual-credit instructors in high schools, and dual-credit instructors on college campuses. Considerations of pedagogy, curriculum, and community are each highlighted as potential routes for implementing methods of generative disposition development. The project then calls for future research to be conducted in order to provide additional perspectives on the topic, including the completion of more case-studies with intentionally diverse participants and the transformation of data collection from qualitative to quantitative through the use of a survey after more generalization is possible following the added case-studies.