ERIC Number: ED230976
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
Evaluating Students' Achievement in a Writing Center.
David, Carol; Bubolz, Thomas
The progress of students enrolled in the writing center of a midwestern university was evaluted after one semester. Subjects were 35 students who had taken the first semester of a two-semester composition course and had failed to meet the guidelines for correctness established for the course. After writing a pretest essay, students were tutored once a week for a semester, with a limited number of punctuation and grammatical principles taught through sentence combining. Two other instruments were part of the evaluation: a 50-item objective test to examine grasp of spelling, punctuation, and grammar principles; and sentence combining exercises; both were given at the beginning and end of the semester. At the end of the semester the students completed a posttest essay. Comparison of the pretest and posttest essays revealed that the students' writing improved in quality, but contained decidedly shorter clauses and T-units. However, the raters did not identify their writing as simplistic--the use of more adverbial dependent clauses and more compound sentences produced writing that no longer interfered with a reader's progress. The paragraphs of the sentence combining exercise were too difficult for the students to manipulate comfortably, and even the posttest paragraphs contained more syntactic weaknesses than did their pretest essays. The subjects' gain of 2.59 on the objective test was significant but it was still 2.6 points below the initial score of a control group of students in a regular section. (Examples of student essays are included.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Freshman Composition; Writing Laboratories
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Writing Centers Association (5th, West Lafayette, IN, May 5-6, 1983).