A qualitative analysis of the influences of word processing on the editing and revising strategies of students with learning disabilities
Tamarah M. Ashton, The Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University, United States
The Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University . Awarded
Poor written language skills typically characterize students with learning disabilities. The empirical knowledge base contains a great deal of information regarding the writing characteristics of students with learning disabilities, as well as the methods which are most effective in teaching writing to this population. In contrast, very few data are available regarding the editing and revising capabilities for students with learning disabilities. Word processing appears to be a promising tool for students with learning disabilities who have particular difficulties in the editing and revising stages. This study qualitatively examined the effects of these tools on the writing of students with learning disabilities through field notes, targeted observations, student and teacher interviews, and metacognitive vignette interviews.
Sixteen students with learning disabilities were divided into four treatment groups. One traditional group wrote with paper and pencil only; three groups used the Write This Way word processing program. Each treatment was of a 16 week duration.
Teachers reported and were observed teaching specific strategies for the editing and revising stages of the writing process. However, few students were able to recall these strategies by name, and an even smaller number were able to accurately describe and demonstrate their use.
All students improved on the number of positive changes they made in their first to final drafts from pre- to posttest. An important finding for special and general education teachers to keep in mind is that, at posttest, even the general education comparison students made many changes that were not positive.
The students in the technology groups were observed to almost always take advantage of the spell checker. However, students rarely chose the help of the grammar checker. Spelling was the area which showed the most positive growth in the technology groups, particularly in the group which used synthesized speech. The reasons for this seem to be that (a) the use of a spell checker is helpful, (b) the speech component is particularly useful, and (c) increased legibility allows students to remember and accurately read what they wrote in order to correct their errors.
Ashton, T.M. A qualitative analysis of the influences of word processing on the editing and revising strategies of students with learning disabilities. Ph.D. thesis, The Claremont Graduate University and San Diego State University.
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