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ERIC Number: ED346450
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Mar
Pages: 6
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Comparison-Group Studies: One Way of Learning about Writing-to-Learn.
Cooper, Charles R.
A study used comparison-group methods to examine the effectiveness of dialogic journal writing in a content area classroom. Subjects were students in a sophomore-level course in Chinese literature at the University of California, San Diego. Students were divided into three comparison groups each of which was further divided into sections. Four teaching assistants (TAs) led section discussions and each TA taught 2 or 3 sections of 12-15 students for a total of 10 sections in all. Students in three of the sections kept dialogic journals (where they wrote about lectures, readings, and their previous journal entries); students in three other sections kept "academic" journals (a set of 18 writing activities designed by the researchers); students in the remaining four sections did no journal writing at all. All subjects wrote two essays, a few brief film reviews, and a 3-hour final essay exam. Each final essay was scored three times: for quality of argument, for sophistication of claim, and for the amount and quality of relevant evidence. From these three scores two more were created: an average score and a weighted score in which quality of argument weighed more than the other two. Results indicated that students keeping an academic journal outperformed (on all five measures) students keeping a dialogic journal and students keeping no journal, even after controlling for students' class level, gender, and which TA led the discussion section. Students in the dialogic journal group performed no better than students in the group not writing a journal. Findings suggest that students can demonstrate their learning of general education courses through discipline-appropriate writing if they are taught how to do it (using the academic journal writing activities). Findings also suggest that the results from comparison-group studies can contribute to reasoned argument about designing courses and giving writing assignments that will foster all students' learning. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A