Improving self-efficacy and writing skills
33 gifted students in 4th grade
Students were taught a 5-step strategy to improve their writing of four paragraph types. They were taught the strategy by writing, and evaluation of a series of paragraphs. The four types of paragraphs were explained to the students. These were; descriptive, informative, narrative, and narrative descriptive. The students privately judged self-efficacy for performing the strategy for each of the four paragraph types.
For the skill test the students were given a different topic for each of the four different paragraph types. Paragraph quality was assessed in four areas; organization, sentence structure and work choice, creativity, and style to fit purpose.
The students were also given a goal inventory of four categories to rate themselves on how they usually felt about school. Inventory components were: task ( desire to independently work and master academics), ego (desire to perform well and please the teacher and avoid trouble), affiliate (desire to share ideas and work with others), and work avoiding (to finish the work with the least amount of effort). Children completed the inventories twice, two weeks apart.
The students received 45 minute instructional sessions over 20 days. Five days devoted to each type of paragraph. At the beginning the tester administered a self-efficacy for skill improvement measure. This was exactly like the pretest except the children judged their capabilities for improvement on the five steps of the writing strategy. Each class was given the goal instructions for each assignment, and each class could refer to the writing strategies described on a poster board. The first 10 minutes were modeled demonstration, 15 minutes of guided practice, and the last 20 minutes devoted to independent practice.
There were three experimental conditions: paragraph goal; strategy goal; and strategy goal plus progressive feedback. During the strategy goal condition students were reminded to use the strategy to write a particular type of paragraph. Strategy goal plus feedback was the same as strategy goal, but feedback such as "You're learning to use the steps" and "You are doing well because you are following the steps in order" was provided. The students in the paragraph goal condition were just reminded of the type of paragraph they were to write. All students were given performance feedback such as "That's a good idea to include in your feedback".
The measures were student self-efficacy, writing achievement, strategy use, and goal orientation. The student improvement in paragraph writing was measured by administering a posttest and a maintenance test to determine whether the experimental conditions produced significant differences. The results showed that providing gifted students with a writing strategy and feedback on their progress raises achievement outcomes.
Schunk, D.H., & Swartz, C.W., (1993). Writing strategy instruction with gifted students: Effects of goals and feedback on self-efficacy and skills. Roeper Review 15(4). 225- 230.
Marcia McMurray, ETSU
Improve paragraph writing skills
Seven, sixth-grade students with mild learning disabilities
Students were taught a process called the PLEASE Strategy, three times a week during thirty minute lessons for twenty weeks in a resource room. During each lesson, the teacher used support materials, which consisted of vocabulary terms, instructional objectives, game-like learning activities, and overhead transparencies, along with an instructional video to enhance this process. This strategy was designed to facilitate metacognition problem solving with the use of a first-letter mnemonic that cues students on how to complete the writing task independently. Each letter in the PLEASE strategy stood for the following: (P) pick a topic, (L) list your ideas about the topic, (E) evaluate your list, (A) activate the paragraph with a topic sentence, (S) supply supporting sentences, and (E) end with a concluding sentence and evaluate your work. Students had to complete a survey, which contained three items: (a) What are the parts of a paragraph? (b) What is the job of each part of the paragraph? and (c) Describe or list the steps you use when planning and writing a paragraph. Students also had to complete writing samples before and after the treatment.
A total number of points was calculated for responses to the survey and the structure of the writing samples to determine the percentage for each student
Welch, M. (1992). The please strategy: A metacognitive learning strategy for improving the paragraph writing of students with mild learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 15, 119-128.
Lori Sanders, ETSU