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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

School Psychology

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Amanda M. Marcotte

Second Advisor

John M. Hintze

Third Advisor

Craig S. Wells

Fourth Advisor

David H. Arnold

Subject Categories

School Psychology | Special Education and Teaching


The Language and Writing strands of the Common Core State Standards place a heavy emphasis on sentence-level conventions including syntax/grammar and mechanics. Interventions targeting these foundational skills are necessary to support struggling writers as poorly developed sentence construction skills inhibit more complex writing tasks. This study examined the effects of a supplemental intervention on the writing skills of fourth grade students identified as struggling writers. The intervention used explicit instruction and the Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) framework to teach students a sentence construction strategy along with self-regulation procedures. A regression discontinuity design was used to test whether students included in the intervention group outperformed their predicted scores on assessments of writing conventions and story quality. Results indicate the intervention was successful for improving struggling writers' ability to use accepted orthographic and grammatical conventions during composition. The intervention was not effective for improving the broader domain of story quality.