ERIC Number: ED364888
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Computers as Writing Tutors.
Downs, Judy R.; Linnehan, Paul J.
Two years ago the University of Tampa acquired the "BASIC SKILLS" software program developed by Computer Systems Research to help underprepared students bring their reading, writing, and mathematical skills up to college levels. Two studies were undertaken to determine the effectiveness of the software and to establish the most effective methods for using it. One study focused on regular freshman composition classes, while the other sampled developmental writing courses. The results most favorable for the use of the program came from the research into freshman composition groups. These results suggest that using the program regularly may help to improve student performance. Students working with the program had fewer sentence level mistakes and said that they enjoyed using the program. The results from the research focused on developmental writers showed surprising trends. Students using the program actually tended to increase the number of errors over time. Factors regarding the small number of sampled students may have overly influenced these findings. Student motivation increases as the use of the computer program is more directed toward individual student weaknesses. But it is difficult to explain the consistent increase of errors as developmental students used the program regularly. Overall, findings caution against overgeneralization regarding the effectiveness of the "BASIC SKILLS" program. Additionally, regular composition students seem more suited to the program than basic writers. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: BASIC SKILLS Software Program; Computer Assisted Writing; University of Tampa FL
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (44th, San Diego, CA, March 31-April 3, 1993).