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ERIC Number: ED175009
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-May
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Measuring Student Writing Ability.
Bailey, Richard W.; And Others
As part of the development of a university-wide writing program at the University of Michigan, a study was undertaken to judge the effectiveness of various composition courses. A pretest consisting of a writing sample was given to 3,913 entering students and evaluated. Students were then assigned to a regular composition class, to a tutorial composition course, to a writing workshop or to a combination of two of these. Some students were exempted from the composition requirement. A second assessment of 398 students was undertaken after the first semester of study. The results showed that the mean score for the entire group increased, the number of students in the lowest categories fell by half, and the number of students in the two highest categories increased by nearly three times. Of the 13 subgroups of students representing various options that might foster the improvement of writing, all but three improved significantly, including those taking the standard freshman course and those who postponed electing composition to the term following the study. Those students identified through the initial assessment as needing special help improved their scores by nearly 40%, more than double the improvement shown by any other group studied. Linguistic correlates of writing ability showed that the best papers differed from the worst in number of different words used, length of essay, repeat rate of function words, and proportion of words occurring once. (TJ)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Council of Teachers of English (12th, Ottawa, Canada, May 8-11, 1979)