ERIC Number: EJ1090978
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Assessing Writing in Elementary Schools: Moving Away from a Focus on Mechanics
Casey, Laura B.; Miller, Neal D.; Stockton, Michelle B.; Justice, William V.
Language Assessment Quarterly, v13 n1 p42-54 2016
Many students struggle with writing; however, curriculum-based measures (CBM) of writing often use assessment criteria that focus primarily on mechanics. When academic development is assessed in this way, more complex aspects of a student's writing, such as the expression and development of ideas, may be neglected. The current study was a preliminary analysis of viability of the words per thought unit (T-unit) as an alternative to traditional approaches to writing assessment. Participants included 167 children enrolled in the fourth and fifth grade, ages 9-11, in a rural southeastern U.S. school district. Writing samples were collected in three probes across the school year (fall, winter, and spring) and analyzed by using a variety of measures. Words per T-unit were positively linearly correlated with other measures of literary proficiency. A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) assessed growth in writing across time and grade. Results indicated a statistically significant time effect within subjects for words per T-unit across grades. Thus, the analysis of words per T-unit yielded promising results as an efficient means of measuring writing skills independently of mechanics.
Descriptors: Elementary School Students, Writing (Composition), Writing Evaluation, Curriculum Based Assessment, Evaluation Criteria, Grade 4, Grade 5, Rural Schools, Alternative Assessment, Statistical Analysis, Writing Improvement, Word Frequency, Writing Instruction, Teaching Methods, Interrater Reliability, Teacher Surveys, Writing Teachers, Scoring
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A