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Date of Award

1990

Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Graduate Studies

First Advisor

Margaret Anne Langer

First Committee Member

R. Ann Finck

Second Committee Member

Marilyn E. Draheim

Third Committee Member

Nancy Law

Fourth Committee Member

Douglas M. Tedards

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of the use of microcomputers together with the Language Experience Approach in first-grade classrooms for the teaching of writing.

Sample and procedure. The research program involved 111 children from four first-grade classrooms which were chosen on the basis of equivalent socio-economic levels and academic achievement. Three methods of teaching writing were studied: a computer program for word processing, the Language Experience Recorder (LER), concurrent with the Language Experience Approach; the Language Experience Approach (LEA) without computers; and the Basal approach generally used by teachers of the basal reader. Two classrooms were taught with LER, one with LEA and one with Basal. Ten compositions were collected from each child over a period of time from March, 1987 to June, 1987. The first two were evaluated as pretest stories, the last two were evaluated as post-test stories. Four evaluative measures were used to analyze the children's progress: the standardized measure Comprehensive Tests of Basic Skills (CTBS); two computer programs, LER and PC-Style; and a checklist designed by the research. An initial statistical measure, analysis of variance (ANOVA), was used to determine comparability of the groups. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to determine significance between scores obtained by the three groups, and independent t tests were used to determine gains within the groups. Ten hypotheses dealt with such components of writing as story length, specific vocabulary use, work length, meaning units, use of compound and complex sentences, unification, and percent of personal words, and with growth in reading and language ability. Results. While all groups gained in writing proficiency, the LEA group made the most gains, scoring high in number of words, meaning units, use of compound and complex sentences, unification, and on the language section of the CTBS. The Basal group scored high on specific vocabulary, average word length and reading on the CTBS. The LER group scored high in use of personal words. The rank order of each group for each measure was relatively stable for the duration of the project. Because length of time spent in writing in individual classrooms and consistency of editing assistance were not controlled, the results of scores between groups were not comparable. However, gains within groups provided significant data and revealed growth in all groups on a majority of the components tested. One-to-one editing sessions with the classroom teacher may have had the greatest influence on first-grade writers. The consistency of one editor with expertise in positive criticism appeared to result in longer, richer and more cohesive compositions. The computer was found to be a valid instrument for teaching writing in first grade, as well as for increasing interest in writing and enhancing children's self-esteem.

Pages

225

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