Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ashley J Holmes

Second Advisor

George Pullman

Third Advisor

Baotong Gu


In the past decade, there has been a substantial amount of scholarship in the field of multimodal writing with an emphasis on effective assessment models that examine both the multimodal compositional product and the writing process as two equally important assessment criteria. Yet, when it comes to the evaluation of student multimodal writing development, classroom instructors still struggle with how to describe the ways that students grow as multimodal composers, and how to measure writing progress. Carried out in a two-year community college where a student body consists of students with diverse educational backgrounds, this study responds to the needs of FYC instructors who employ principles of multimodal pedagogy by suggesting some indicators of student progress in multimodal writing that can be used to describe and measure the stages of multimodal writing development.

In this research, I analyze student digital multimodal compositions to observe evidence of rhetorically-driven rationale in the use of modes and design elements in order to identify some indicators of progress and describe stages of writing development. I conclude that a compositional product can serve as the first indicator of student development and suggest five indicators of progress based on modal relationships: co-occurring, supplementary, complementary, additive, and resistant. I then examine student meta-awareness about rhetorical principles of multimodal composing in written reflections as the second indicator of writing development. I suggest to align three rhetorical concepts – style, rhetorical situation, and rhetorical strategies – with modes, structural elements, and technical features enacted in student reflections to observe evidence of Scraw’s three kinds of metacognitive knowledge: declarative, procedural, and conditional. I recommend that to accurately evaluate the level of student multimodal writing development, the compositional product must be assessed together with the rhetorically-grounded evidence-based reflection. Finally, I observe that three general metacognitive themes can serve as additional indicators of multimodal writing development: positive attitude to multimodal writing, knowledge transfer, and appreciation of multimodal writing for personal growth.


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Available for download on Wednesday, April 16, 2025