Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Ross Collin

Second Advisor

Lisa Abrams

Third Advisor

Maike Philipsen

Fourth Advisor

Donna Jovanovich


The relation of English Language Arts (ELA) to the economy has played a historic role in educational policy, persisting to today’s corporate reform movement. It is, however, an area that remains under-researched. This study builds upon the limited existing literature base with a systematic replication of the College Board’s National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools, and Colleges’ (NCW) 2004 report, “Writing: A Ticket to Work…Or a Ticket Out.” The guiding research questions for this study are 1) How important is writing in the workplace? 2) Is writing an important hiring consideration? 3) What kind of writing is expected on the job today? 4) Do employees have the writing skills employers seek? 5) Is writing a promotion criterion? 6) Do American companies provide writing training; if so, what is the cost? To answer these questions, human resources executives of Business Roundtable, Fortune 500 (with no redundancy), and Inc. 5000 companies were surveyed regarding the use and importance of writing in their respective organizations. To establish validity evidence, the College Board’s original instrument was pretested and piloted prior to full administration, and a principal components factor analysis was conducted to explore potential latent variables that may explain variance related to respondents’ perceptions regarding the use and importance of writing. Responses were analyzed descriptively and compared to the College Board’s findings, and results suggest that modern employers utilize writing differently and value it more highly now than in 2004. ELA curricula and workforce development initiatives may consequently benefit from updates in order to allow for more equitable economic opportunity.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission