Writing Center Journal

The Meaningful and Significant Impact of Writing Center Visits on College Writing Performance


This article examines whether writing center (WC) visits significantly and meaningfully impact college writing. Eighty-two quantitative WC studies conducted between 1954 and 2019 were reviewed. Sixty-four included control groups and produced 71 measurable outcomes, which were reanalyzed via five meta-analyses, where 8,168 student WC visitors were compared with 15,119 nonvisitors. Both a statistically and meaningfully significant relationship between student WC visitors and writing performance resulted, with weighted average effect sizes from near moderate (.39) to near large (.70) and between 27% and 42% more student WC visitors having greater writing outcomes than nonvisitors. A sixth meta-analysis was conducted combining the five meta-analyses and all 71 WC outcomes; this showed 31.2% (weighted average effect size = 0.47) more student WC visitors demonstrated greater writing performance than nonvisitors. A seventh meta-analysis was performed that included the 15 WC outcomes focused on struggling writers, with 40.6% (effect size = 0.65) more struggling-writer WC visitors demonstrating greater writing outcomes than nonvisitors. Findings show using the WC has meaningful impact on writing generalizable to college WCs and WCs may especially support struggling writers. How these results may apply to struggling writers from diverse backgrounds is discussed in the context of reducing the academic achievement gap.

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