ERIC Number: ED255935
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Rhetorical Maturity and Perry's Scheme of Cognitive Complexity.
Shapiro, Nancy S.
To investigate the relationship between the intellectual maturity of college students and evidence of rhetorical maturity in their writing, 70 student essays were evaluated on three independent measures: W. G. Perry's scale of intellectual development, P. G. Diederich's scale of writing competence, and a measure of audience awareness based on the writer's constructed context. The study addressed the question of why some students write better than others. General language abilities (e.g., vocabulary, gyntactic maturity) cannot account for all the differences between good and poor writing. By focusing on college students who presumably have the necessary preliminary tools to write (spelling, vocabulary, syntactic options), the study sought to examine the differences in the students' rhetorical maturity with respect to writing competence and context. It was hypothesized that students who had moved through the more complex positions on Perry's model of intellectual development would have internalized the need to provide necessary and appropriate context in their writing. The subjects represented both traditional and older undergraduate and graduate students across a broad spectrum of majors. The results suggested that aspects of intellectual development described by Perry's theory (critical thinking, questioning assumptions, drawing conclusions) were significantly related to the quality of student writing. Results also indicated that levels of cognitive development among college students had a statistically significant relationship to both writing competence and constructed context. (Author/HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Awareness; Perry Scheme of Intellectual Ethical Development
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (36th, Minneapolis, MN, March 21-23, 1985).