Compulsory writing education. A study on the relation between young people s writing competencies and metalinguistic knowledge in the context of first language education.

Name of applicant

Kristine Kabel


Aarhus University


DKK 3,578,243



Type of grant

Semper Ardens: Accelerate


The project aims to develop much needed new knowledge relevant for writing education. Through an exploration of the specific relations between young people's writing competencies and metalinguistic knowledge - the latter understood as their ways of thinking and talking about written texts - the project will provide vital insights and contribute to further theorisation within the field. In the project, we apply a contextual approach to student writing that takes into account both the writer and the teaching context. Furthermore, we propose that exploring young people's repertoire of affective and associative engagement with written texts as one dimension of their metalinguistic knowledge will contribute to a better understanding of the role and nature of such knowledge in the classroom.


Developing strong writing competencies during primary and lower secondary education is crucial for young people's educational success and life trajectories. In Denmark, one in five students leave compulsory schooling with inadequate results in the high-stakes written composition examination in the first language subject Danish. This calls for further educational research. Although a growing number of empirical studies suggest that student achievement within written composition is linked to an expanded repertoire of ways to talk about written texts, there is a lack of conceptual clarity in the field. As such, there is a need for novel theoretically based and empirically informed knowledge regarding factors relevant for schools effort to support all students in becoming competent writers.


Through text studies and ethnographic fieldwork in four Year 5 and four Year 8 classrooms, the project represents a novel theoretical framework and sound empirical base for advancing educational writing research. More specifically, the findings will contribute to new conceptualisations of writing competencies and metalinguistic knowledge and how they are linked. The project brings together prominent international and national researchers, hereby providing scope for strong future collaborations both within and across borders.

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