Date of Award

Spring 1988

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

James R. K. Heinen

Committee Member

Denny Wolf

Committee Member

Wolgang Pindur

Committee Member

William Cunningham

Committee Member

Donald A. Myers


Despite the popularization of the concept of brain hemispheric dominance, little serious research has been done in the area of the role of brain hemisphericity in learning and thought. The purpose of this case study was to explore the role of hemisphericity in the area of student composition to test the theory that the composing process and writing of student papers differs relative to the students' hemispheric dominance. A second area of investigation was to test the theory that teachers value papers written by students who share their hemispheric dominance.

The subjects, eight twelfth graders and four (English) teacher evaluators, were tested with the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument to determine their hemispheric dominance.

The first component of the study dealt with the eight twelfth grade students who were questioned relative to their particular composing process, their writing preferences, and the specific process used to compose three teacher generated compositions and one open-ended response statement to a prompt. The students were observed while they generated their papers in a computer laboratory over a period of four months.

A second component of the study dealt with the four teacher evaluators who were trained in holistic evaluation to evaluate the students response statements and to make a judgment on the hemispheric dominance of the papers and to assign each paper a letter grade.

The results of the study proved that the first two hypotheses were tenable showing that the right brained students approached the composing process in a different manner than did the left brained students. The results also showed that the right brained students preferred free-writing and creative writing, while the left brained students enjoyed doing research papers and book reports. The teacher evaluators consistently evaluated the student papers relative to the students' hemispheric dominance. Therefore it was generalized that their brain hemisphericity does influence the composing process.

The third hypothesis proved to be non-negotiable as none of the teachers tested demonstrated a left brain dominance. Thus there was no consistency with the letter grades assigned the papers by the teachers. It was concluded that further research in the area of brain hemisphericity and teacher evaluation needs to be done.