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The Impact of Word Processing on the Written Expression of Students with Learning Disabilities in the Area of Written Expression

Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of word processing on the quality of written expression of students with learning disabilities identified in the area of written expression. A examination of existing research revealed that most studies do not focus on word processing independent of writing instruction. Therefore, the consensus among researchers that word processors make a difference is limited by the influence of instruction within the research setting. Therefore, this study sought to determine the impact made solely by word processing by controlling for instruction. The 75 students who participated in the study represented three groups--students with learning disabilities identified in the area of written expression (LD-W), students with learning disabilities identified in an area other than written expression (LD-O), and general education students (NA). Each student completed four writing samples: (a) descriptive - handwritten, (b) informative - handwritten, (c) descriptive - word processed, and (d) informative - word processed. The writing samples were scored according to the TOWL-3 on the three Spontaneous Composite subtests (e.g., Contextual Conventions, Contextual Language, and Story Construction). In addition, Word Perfect 6.1- Grammatik was used to determine the number of syllables, words, and sentences in each writing sample. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was used in the analysis in conjunction with univariate F-Tests and Tukey's Honestly Significant Difference (HSD) test. General education students scored consistently higher than LD-W on all subtests even when handwriting and word processing were considered. They also generated more syllables, words, and sentences than students with learning disabilities. In addition, all students scored higher on subtests when writing descriptive samples rather than writing informative samples. No practically significant results were determined for the effect of word processing. Therefore, word processing alone does not have an impact on students' quality of writing. It is simply a ...
Date: August 1996
Creator: Bridges, Deanna L. (Deanna Lee)
Partner: UNT Libraries