Improving writing performance
High school students with learning disabilities
Students will be given subject material or specific topic to write an opinion essay on this topic. Observations will be made during writing assignment on time spent and planning. A second day or sample will be taken on a different topic, but same format. On the third assignment, the S.T.O.P. technique of writing and thinking will be displayed on the board for these student to use while writing on a new topic. S.T.O.P. is used to help students remember strategy steps for writing. Suspend judgment is used to remind students to fully consider the topic before writing. Take a side is used for the student to decide which side could be used to create the strongest argument. The third step, "Organize ideas", ideas that provided the strongest support for the essay were identified, and arguments were selected. The final step, "Plan more as you write", reminded students to continue to plan while writing. These steps will help students develop their ideas when writing.
Observations by the teacher will be made on amount of time students spend on planning before writing, these written plans will be collected from the student. Unique ideas (complete prepositions) are counted on the planning sheet. Transformation of plans are also counted as well as writing time, strategy use, length, coherence, and essay elements.
De La Paz, S. & Graham, S. (1997). Strategy instruction in planning: Effects on the writing performance and behavior of students with learning difficulties. Exceptional Children, 63 (2), 167-181.
Bryan Thomas Dance, ETSU
Improving students' essay-writing proficiency
Low-achieving high school students showing signs of poor writing skills
Over a ten week period, the teacher presented all students with instruction in composition. Instruction in the first four weeks involved a review of the aspects of language usage, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. Forty-minute sessions held twice a week consisted of students writing and practice editing essays, and familiarized students with the editing/rating sheets used by the teacher as a model to edit all papers. During the last six weeks of instruction, the teacher taught organizational principles in writing, and increased the number of writing sessions per week to three. Students agreed to write on one essay topic per week chosen from a list of their interests. Upon completion of weekly essays, the teacher paired students and asked them to edit each others' papers. These students exchanged and edited essays by using the editing/rating sheets according to the week's focus of instruction (e.g. punctuation or grammar).
Rate student essays based on Diederich's Analytic Scale, which includes ideas, organization, wording, usage, punctuation, spelling, and handwriting. Content should be emphasized more than mechanics.
Karegianes, M. L., Pascarella, E. T., & Pflaum, S. W. (1980). The effects of peer editing on the writing proficiency of low-achieving tenth grade students. Journal of Educational Research, 73, 203-207.
Amy Angelo, and Jason Tiede, UVA