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Title:Changes in Children's Writing on Multiple Tasks, Grades 1-5
Author(s):Brown-Sandberg, Susan Mae
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:The purpose of this research was to develop profiles of young children's writing across age groups (grades 1-5), using the same writing tasks for all grade levels. This study sought to identify the linguistic features that were most directly associated with writing effectiveness. The study was also designed to investigate developmental trends in compositions elicited by different modes of discourse--a narrative (summary)/reflective essay, an explanatory essay, and a descriptive essay. The study was organized into two major sections: (a) holistic effectiveness and holistic cohesion/coherence ratings of a larger group of compositions (308) from grades 1-5, and (b) an in-depth analysis of a smaller group of high/low effectiveness compositions (112), using the cohesion categories (lexical renaming, semantic conjunction, pronomial reference, proform substitution, and ellipsis) developed by Halliday and Hasan (1976); and syntax analysis (determining T-unit length and clause embeddedness) as defined by Hunt (1965).
The 308 compositions, collected from a suburban Chicago school (three rhetorical tasks from 118 students) were analyzed considering several writing variables (i.e., writing effectiveness, task, grade development , cohesion, syntax, and word count). As a result of this combined study, the researcher made the following six findings: (a) holistic judgments of writing and summarization effectiveness revealed significant differences by grade and by task. Children were most effective on the summary task, and second most effective on the explanatory task; (b) holistic judgments of cohesion effectiveness exhibited significant differences by grade and by task. The summary task had the highest cohesion scores; (c) children were most fluent on the summary task; (d) the total number of cohesive ties was closely related to high effectiveness and coherence ratings in the in-depth analysis; (e) lexical cohesion scores were closely related with high effectiveness ratings; and (f) in the syntax analysis, clause embeddedness proved to be an indicator of writing effectiveness.
Issue Date:1987
Description:234 p.
Thesis (Educat.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8711775
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1987

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