Date of Award


Degree Name

Leadership Studies


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Ron Childress, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Bobbi Nicholson

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda Palenchar


National standardized test scores indicate West Virginia students perform below the national average in writing achievement, yet little research has been conducted to investigate how writing is being taught. Gaining understanding of the instructional strategies West Virginia teachers use to teach writing may provide insight for educational leaders about how to better support and prepare teachers for the complex task of teaching writing. Identifying challenges and barriers to implementing evidence-based practices may provide areas of focus for school and policy improvements as they relate to writing expectations. This study investigated the practices and perceptions of fourth-grade teachers in West Virginia using a three-part researcher-developed survey. The survey, emailed to all fourth-grade teachers (N= 1,302) in Fall 2021, was composed of demographic questions, questions asking teachers to report frequency of use and perception of effectiveness for 20 evidence-based writing strategies, and a qualitative item asking about the challenges and barriers to implementing the strategies. Results indicated West Virginia fourth-grade teachers provide positive reinforcement as a strategy for writing instruction most frequently and explicitly teach typing least frequently. Overall, statistically significant differences were not found among the demographic variables (class size and years of teaching experience). Responses to the open-ended item indicated fourth-grade teachers face many challenges in delivering evidence-based writing instruction. Teachers reported student abilities and the lack of prior knowledge as the most common barriers to implementing evidence-based writing strategies. The combination of quantitative and qualitative data from this study can guide local educational leaders in better supporting teachers and mitigating barriers teachers face when delivering writing instruction.


Educational leadership – West Virginia.

Education, Elementary – Testing – West Virginia.