Revision and writing quality of seventh graders composing with and without word processors
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This experimental study examined the effects of word processing on revision and writing quality of expository compositions produced by seventh—graders. Thirty—six students in two accelerated English classes served as subjects. Prior to the experimental period, all students completed a handwritten composition (pretest) and received identical instruction in (a) composing and revising and (b) using a word processor. One intact class was randomly assigned as the experimental group. During the six-week treatment period all students wrote six compositions (three drafts per composition). The experimental group completed all composing and revising on the computer and the control group completed their compositions with pen and paper. Posttest l (produced on computer in the experimental group and by hand in the control group) and posttest 2 (handwritten in both groups) were analyzed for the frequency and types of revisions made between first and second drafts. The pretest and three posttests were analyzed for writing quality of final drafts. There were no significant differences: (a) between groups in the number of revisions in posttest l (computer written by experimental subjects and handwritten by control subjects), (b) in percentage of high—level revisions made with and without the word processor, and (c) in quality of compositions produced with and without the computer. There was a significant difference between groups in the number of revisions in handwritten compositions (posttest 2) produced by both groups after the treatment; the word processing group revised more frequently than did the group not exposed to six weeks of word processing. The experimental subjects also significantly increased in frequency of revisions from the time of posttest l (computer written) to posttest 2 (handwritten). A significant difference across time in writing quality scores was found. The findings suggested that students who compose and revise on computer can make substantially more revisions when they resume pen and paper composing and revising; however, use of the word processor does not differentially affect types of revisions attempted or writing quality. Word processors increase motivation, and adequate systems may increase the ability to detect and eliminate textual problems. Recommendations for research, theory, and instruction are discussed.
- Doctoral Dissertations