Essay Scorer Et Booth

Abstract

Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) has led to improved writing and language outcomes among deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) middle grades students. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of SIWI on the written expression of DHH elementary students across recount/personal narrative, information report, and persuasive genres. Five multiple-probe case studies demonstrate a relationship between implementation of SIWI and improvements in genre-related writing performance. The effect of instruction was most immediately demonstrated with information reports and persuasive writing, whereas several sessions of recount instruction were needed for students to satisfy performance criteria. Additionally, pre- and post-data from a larger group of students ( N = 31) were compared. Wilcoxon signed-rank test statistics were statistically significant for each genre with medium to high effect sizes. Data suggest SIWI as a promising practice with elementary students, and comments regarding further development and research are provided.

The current study reports data from the first year of a 3-year Institute of Education Sciences-funded project to develop Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction (SIWI) for use with deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students in Grades 3–5 to improve writing and language outcomes. Prior to this project, SIWI had primarily been implemented with middle grades DHH students, diverse by hearing loss and language history. Related studies indicated that students who received SIWI made gains in their expressive American Sign Language (ASL; Dostal & Wolbers, 2014 ), written English language ( Wolbers, 2008a , 2008b , 2010 ; Wolbers, Dostal, & Bowers, 2012 ), and genre-related writing features ( Wolbers, 2008a , 2008b ), while also showing a decline in ASL features in written text ( Wolbers, Bowers, Dostal, & Graham, 2013 ; Wolbers, Graham, Dostal, & Bowers, 2014 ) and an increase in motivation to write, independence as writers, and awareness of writing ability ( Dostal, Bowers, Wolbers, & Gabriel, 2015 ). The purpose of the 3-year Development and Innovation Goal 2 project was twofold: (a) to iteratively develop SIWI curriculum, materials, and professional development components for the later elementary level during Years 1 and 2 and (b) to assess the promise of the intervention with an experimental study in Year 3. During the development phase, data, including those presented in this paper, were collected to measure the feasibility of the SIWI intervention and spur additional development. The purpose of the study reported here was to examine the effects of SIWI on the written expression of DHH elementary students across recount/personal narrative, information report, and persuasive genres.

Review of Literature

Because of the lack of emphasis at all levels in K-12 schools, writing has been branded the “neglected R” ( National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools, and Colleges, 2003 ) in comparison to reading and arithmetic. Yet, more than ever, today’s workforce employees need sophisticated writing skills to be successful. Two thirds of salaried positions require some writing responsibilities, and half of all companies consider employees’ writing skills when making promotion decisions ( National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges, 2004 ). As of 2011, only about a quarter of students at both 8th and 12th grade levels were considered proficient at using writing to convey experience, explain, or persuade as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) writing assessment ( National Center for Education Statistics, 2012 ). With the development of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS; National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010 ), greater emphasis is placed on exposing students to writing for a variety of purposes and for different audiences, from primary grades onward. Whereas elementary students are typically exposed to reading and writing narrative text ( Cutler & Graham, 2008 ; Duke, 2000 ) and know less about writing informative or persuasive text compared to middle grades students ( Lin, Monroe, & Troia, 2007 ), the CCSS include writing to inform and persuade in addition to writing real or imagined experiences.

Elementary students have been known to focus on surface features such as orthography, punctuation, and language form more than global aspects of writing like structure, content, or implications for one’s reader ( Barbiero, 2011 ). A preoccupation with form may be even more prevalent among young DHH students who typically struggle with language use and English grammar. DHH writers have been known to write shorter and less complex sentences with fewer adjectives and adverbs and demonstrate various English morphology and syntax usage errors with, for example, verb agreements, omissions of function words, and confused word order ( Antia, Reed, & Kreimeyer, 2005 ; Fabbretti, Volterra, & Pontecorvo, 1998 ; Harrison, Simpson, & Stuart, 1991 ; Marschark, Mouradian, & Halas, 1994 ; Powers & Wilgus, 1983 ; Spencer, Barker, & Tomblin, 2003 ; Wilbur, 1977 ; Wolbers et al., 2012 ). Some research suggests that DHH students have relatively better discourse skills ( Antia et al., 2005 ; Musselman & Szanto, 1998 ). They have been known to perform at commensurate levels with their hearing peers in the number of story propositions or elements used ( Arfe, 2015 ; Marschark et al., 1994 ; Yoshinaga-Itano, Snyder, & Mayberry, 1996 ) but do more poorly when discourse ability includes coherence relations such as linguistic connectives ( Arfe, 2015 ). Further, because the writing of DHH students tends to be less syntactically fluent and grammatically complex, there are challenges to communicating ideas successfully or coherently, which may give their writing the appearance of not having similar discourse elements ( Marschark et al., 1994 ; Yoshinaga-Itano et al., 1996 ).

Given that DHH students lack full access to spoken English and typically struggle with English grammar, it has been suggested that writing instruction primarily focus on discourse-level skills, so they can experience grammar functioning within purposeful writing ( Arfe & Perondi, 2008 ). An approach that contextualizes grammar practice within genre-specific writing instruction in particular might give rise to simultaneous development of language and writing skill sets. Much of what we know to date about DHH students’ writing performance has been based on narrative analyses (cf. Mayer, 2010 ). Yet, writing to inform or persuade places different language demands on the writer, requiring different language features and vocabulary usage ( Derewianka, 1990 ; Olinghouse & Wilson, 2013 ). At this point, it is unclear whether there are marked differences in performance across writing genres among DHH students, and what approaches to instruction would encourage holistic writing development.

Evidenced-Based Writing Instruction in the Elementary Grades

A recent meta-analysis of elementary writing interventions highlights effective instructional practices for teaching writing in the elementary grades ( Graham et al., 2012 ; Graham, McKeown, Kiuhara, & Harris, 2012 ). Graham and colleagues examined 13 writing practices that have each been researched in four or more experimental or quasi-experimental studies. Six of these practices involved explicitly teaching students writing skills, processes, or knowledge, of which strategy instruction produced the largest average weighted effect size (ES) of 1.02, followed by creativity/imagery instruction (ES = 0.70), text structure instruction (0.59), explicit instruction of transcription skills (ES = 0.55), and the addition of self-regulation to strategy instruction (ES = 0.50). The explicit teaching of grammar was the only intervention not to produce a statistically significant effect. Four instructional practices related to scaffolding or supporting students in their writing all produced statistically significant effects. These included the use of peer assistance during revising or writing (ES = 0.89), establishing product goals (ES = 0.76), engaging in prewriting activities (ES = 0.54), and self-assessing one’s writing or receiving teacher or peer feedback on writing (ES = 0.42). The last three interventions that produced statistically significant effects were word processing (ES = 0.47), implementation of comprehensive writing programs such as the process writing approach (ES = 0.42), and extra writing time (ES = 0.30). It should be noted, however, that when the writing performance of English language learners, or at risk and struggling writers is analyzed separately, statistically significant effects for process writing instruction are not found ( Sandmel & Graham, 2011 ). Based on the number of quality studies in each category in addition to the reported ESs, there is strong evidence to support teaching strategies for planning, writing, and/or revising. There is also confidence in teaching specific genre properties as well as providing children collaborative writing opportunities to improve writing performance. Strategy instruction and collaborative writing were similarly identified by Strassman and Schirmer (2013) as promising practices in a review of the research on writing instruction with deaf students.

Strategic and Interactive Writing Instruction

SIWI, the instructional approach used in this study, incorporates evidence-based practices for teaching writing in elementary grades. One of the major driving principles of SIWI is that instruction is strategic —students are explicitly taught strategies for writing processes. For example, with middle grades signing students, the acronym POSTER has been used to teach strategies associated with planning, organizing, scribing, translating, editing, and revising ( Wolbers, 2008a ). A second major driving principle of SIWI is that instruction is interactive , meaning teachers and students collaboratively discuss and co-construct pieces of writing together. During guided writing, all participants are actively engaged in the thinking, problem solving, and decision making associated with the writing. A supportive, sharing environment where the teacher is adept at conversational moves that involve students in the cognitive tasks ( Mariage, 2001 ) allows for the apprenticeship of novice writers (cf. Englert & Dunsmore, 2002 ; Englert, Mariage, & Dunsmore, 2006 ). Teachers move their students purposefully between segments of guided and independent writing based on what students have appropriated.

A third major principle of SIWI, derived from second language research ( Ellis et al., 2009 ; Krashen, 1994 ), is aimed at developing metalinguistic awareness through explicit teaching as well as implicit linguistic competence of English and ASL (if instruction involves signers). During interactive guided writing and in the context of producing authentic text, the teacher may compare grammars, expand vocabulary, or explicitly teach linguistic aspects of ASL or English, as the need arises. Regarding implicit language development, the interactive, meaning-making nature of SIWI can drive further acquisition of the language being used ( Dostal & Wolbers, 2014 ). Additionally, each classroom has a designated language zone that is a space where teachers and students intentionally employ communication strategies for the purpose of meaning making or meaning sharing. When a student is struggling to express his/her ideas or when the teacher is struggling to help her students understand, they may turn attention to the use of pictures, drawing, objects, gesture, role play, etc. in the language zone to expand or clarify ideas or to repair communication breakdowns. Once meaning is understood and shared between members, the teacher can model expressive language associated with the concepts and encourage students in expressing with greater detail and clarity. Implicit English opportunities are promoted through rereading the English co-construction often ( Wolbers, 2010 ). With guidance from the teacher, the text is constructed at a level just beyond what students can write independently. The text serves as comprehensible and slightly advanced input ( Krashen, 1994 , 2008 ) because it stems from students’ expressions and is meaningful to them. See Wolbers et al. (2012) and Wolbers et al. (2014) for a more full description of SIWI guiding principles.

SIWI can be implemented to engage students in writing for a variety of purposes and authentic audiences. For this reason, we ask the following research question: What effect does SIWI have on the discourse-level writing skills of DHH elementary students with recount, information report, and persuasive writing? We hypothesize that students make noticeable gains in writing performance across all three genres.

Method

The investigations described in the following sections reflect two separate, albeit related, studies of the SIWI intervention conducted with DHH elementary students. In the first study, a multiple-probe design across behaviors ( Kazdin, 2011 ) was used to establish the effectiveness of the instruction on the independent writing of five DHH students, whereby SIWI was systematically introduced for each genre. In the second study, in addition to the single case designs (SCDs), group pre- and post-data for each genre were compared using the Wilcoxon signed-rank ( N = 31), a test for analyzing dependent, ordinal data.

Participants and Setting

Group participants

There were a total of five classes of DHH students across three different programs that participated in this study. Three of the classes were located at a total communication (TC) residential school for the deaf where most instruction occurred through the use of simultaneous sign and speech, one class was at a bilingual day school for the deaf, and one class, located in a public school, followed a listening and spoken language (LSL) approach. Teachers of these classes ranged in experience from 3 to 7 years teaching DHH students with the exception of the LSL teacher who had 25 years of experience. All of the teachers except one had 2–3 years of exposure to SIWI; the teacher from the bilingual day school for the deaf received her first SIWI training the summer before the study period. She was also the only deaf teacher in the group. The authors of the study were not teacher participants and are hereafter referred to as the researchers.

There were a total of 31, third to fifth grade students, aged 8–11 ( M = 9.7; SD = 0.8). Table 1 provides information on students’ levels of hearing by decibel (dB) in the better ear. Although the majority of the students were categorized as having a severe to profound hearing loss without amplification, most tested in the normal, mild loss, or moderate loss ranges with amplification.

Table 1.

Percentage of students at levels of hearing loss

Hearing loss (dB) Percentage of students Percentage of students (when amplified) 
Normal, 0–15 dB 3.2% 9.7% 
Slight, 16–25 dB 0% 6.5% 
Mild, 26–40 dB 6.5% 51.6% 
Moderate, 41–55 dB 9.7% 12.9% 
Moderately severe, 56–70 dB 9.7% 3.2% 
Severe, 71–90 dB 16.1% 6.5% 
Profound, 91+ dB 54.8% 9.6% 
Hearing loss (dB) Percentage of students Percentage of students (when amplified) 
Normal, 0–15 dB 3.2% 9.7% 
Slight, 16–25 dB 0% 6.5% 
Mild, 26–40 dB 6.5% 51.6% 
Moderate, 41–55 dB 9.7% 12.9% 
Moderately severe, 56–70 dB 9.7% 3.2% 
Severe, 71–90 dB 16.1% 6.5% 
Profound, 91+ dB 54.8% 9.6% 

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In Table 2 , students’ standardized assessment scores from the beginning of the year are reported using grade equivalency. Each program administered a slightly different battery of assessments to their students at the start of the school year—the Stanford Achievement Test-Hearing Impaired (SAT-HI; Gallaudet Research Institute, 2004 ) data are not inclusive of the LSL program. Data from the Woodcock Johnson III (WJ III; Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001 ) Broad Written Language subtest (spelling, writing fluency, and writing samples) and Broad Reading subtest (letter-word identification, reading fluency, and passage comprehension) are not inclusive of the bilingual program. Data from the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP; NWEA, 2009 ) published by the Northwest Evaluation Association were additionally collected from students enrolled in the TC program ( N = 22) for the Language Usage subtest, which assess grammar, writing conventions, and writing types ( M = 166.5, SD = 11.27) and the Reading subtest ( M = 164.5, SD = 10.16). Based on normative data for the MAP, a raw score that falls between 160.3 and 176.9 represents the 50th percentile rank for typically developing first graders.

Table 2.

Beginning of the year standardized assessment scores

NM ( SD )  Range 
SAT-HI 26 2.16 (1.6)  1.1–9.2 a
WJ III Broad Written Language 26 1.92 (0.99) K.1–4.8 
WJ III Broad Reading 25 1.90 (0.53) K.4–3.1 
NM ( SD )  Range 
SAT-HI 26 2.16 (1.6)  1.1–9.2 a
WJ III Broad Written Language 26 1.92 (0.99) K.1–4.8 
WJ III Broad Reading 25 1.90 (0.53) K.4–3.1 

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SCD participants

Five students from the larger group were identified for the SCDs (listed below using pseudonyms). The students were identified based on their teacher’s ability to implement instruction for all three genres as well as collect enough data points associated with each genre. Only one classroom was able to collect more than one intervention data point for the last genre of writing (i.e., persuasive) before the end of the school year. This class was one of the three at the TC residential school for the deaf. The teacher, Vivian (pseudonyms are used throughout), had 6 years of experience teaching DHH children at the start of the study and 7 years of experience using ASL. She describes her ASL fluency in terms of having the ability to express many concepts in ASL and understand most expressed concepts in ASL. She states that she is fully comfortable communicating in written English as well as ASL. Although she personally likes writing, she has had minimal preparation in the teaching of writing besides SIWI professional development.

One other teacher at the TC program, Dana, often combined her class with Vivian’s during the year. While Dana was on maternity leave in the winter, Vivian independently provided SIWI to the larger, combined group of students ( N = 10). Dana had 7 years of experience teaching DHH children and 11 years of experience using ASL at the start of the study. Although she self-reported a higher level of fluency with expressing ASL than Vivian, Dana had the same level of comfort with ASL and written English, as well as the same amount of preparation teaching writing.

Student 1, Curt.

Curt is a 9-year-old Caucasian male in the third grade. He has attended the residential school since preschool. He has a mild hearing loss (26–40 dB) that is improved to be within normal hearing limits (0–15 dB) with hearing aids, which he uses consistently. When communicating with others, Curt uses both spoken English and sign supported English. Curt has Cerebral Palsy, which impacts his fine and gross motor skills bilaterally. He receives pullout services for both physical and occupational therapy. His teachers reported that he is unmotivated, writing is laborious for him, and his handwriting is difficult to read. Often his writing plans were elaborate, but his final writing samples did not contain the same level of detail. As a result, Curt was given accommodations that included extended time and the opportunity to type his writing sample. Grade equivalencies on standardized assessments administered early in the academic year were 2.4 and 2.3 on the WJ III Broad Written Language and Broad Reading subtests, respectively, and 1.6 on the SAT-HI. He scored 163 on the MAP Language Usage subtest and 159 on the MAP Reading subtest. His MAP scores represent the 50th percentile rank for typically developing first graders, or slightly below.

Student 2, Heather.

Heather is an 8-year-old Caucasian female in third grade. She has a severe hearing loss (71–90 dB) that remains within the same range with the use of a cochlear implant. It should be noted that Heather experienced complications as a result of the cochlear implant such as redness and pain in the head and neck, and her cochlear implant was removed a short time after the conclusion of the study. Heather uses ASL as her primary method of communication. Heather has a younger brother, who is hard of hearing. Her brother and both parents communicate with her in ASL. Her teachers report that she is quiet in class, but participates when prompted. She enjoys reading independently in her free time and excels in spelling. Grade equivalencies on the WJ III Broad Written Language and Broad Reading were 2.2 and 2.1, respectively, as well as 1.8 on the SAT-HI. Heather scored 166 on the MAP Language Usage subtest and 172 on MAP Reading subtest, which represent the 50th percentile rank for typically developing first graders.

Student 3, Jason.

Jason is a 9-year-old Caucasian male in third grade. Prior to this school year, he received instruction in a general education setting without an interpreter. He has a moderate hearing loss (41–55 dB) that is improved to a slight hearing loss (16–25 dB) with hearing aids, which he uses consistently. Jason primarily communicates using spoken English and sign supported speech. Although his Individualized Education Program (IEP) indicates that he has been diagnosed with an Auditory Processing Disorder, his teachers described him as an auditory learner. They reported that he often demonstrated language skills during guided writing that did not appear in his independent writing. For example, he did not edit his writing to ensure that his sentences began with a capital letter and ended with a period; however, he was able to do this during guided writing without prompting. Grade equivalencies on the WJ III Broad Written Language and Broad Reading subtests were 1.5 and 1.9, respectively, as well as 1.4 on the SAT-HI. Jason scored 166 on the MAP Language Usage subtest and 168 on the MAP Reading subtest, and these scores represent the 50th percentile rank for typically developing first graders.

Student 4, Nelly.

Nelly is an 8-year-old Caucasian female in the third grade. She has a profound hearing loss (91+ dB) that is improved to a moderate to severe loss (56–70 dB) with the aid of bilateral cochlear implants. It should be noted that Nelly’s right implant was removed during the time of the study due to infection, and her left implant was reimplanted near to the conclusion of the study due to device failure. Nelly uses both ASL and English-Based Sign in her communications with others. During writing, Nelly would generate many ideas but struggled to spell and write those ideas. Grade equivalencies on the WJ III Broad Written Language and Broad Reading subtests were 1.5 and 1.4, respectively, as well as 1.4 on the SAT-HI. Nelly scored 155 on the MAP Language Usage subtest and 157 on the MAP Reading subtest, which are slightly below the 50th percentile rank for typically developing first graders.

Student 5, Zeke.

Zeke is a 10-year-old Asian-American male in the fourth grade. He has a profound hearing loss (91+ dB) that is improved to a mild hearing loss (26–40 dB) with the use of a cochlear implant, which he uses consistently. Zeke uses a combination of ASL and English-Based Sign in his communication with others. The year prior to the study, Zeke attended a public school classroom with an interpreter. Zeke’s teachers say that he is creative and loves to tell stories. When he writes, his stories are less detailed and read more like a list of events. Grade equivalencies on the WJ III Broad Written Language and Broad Reading subtests were 1.9 and 1.6, respectively. He additionally scored 170 on the MAP Language Usage subtest and 165 on the MAP Reading subtest, and these scores represent the 50th percentile rank for typically developing first graders.

Independent Variable

Нам необходимо отключиться от Интернета, - продолжил Джабба.  - Приблизительно через час любой третьеклассник с модемом получит высший уровень допуска к американской секретной информации. Фонтейн погрузился в раздумья.

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