Date Approved

4-24-1997

Embargo Period

8-25-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. in Special Education

Department

Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Kuder, S. Jay

Subject(s)

English language--Composition and exercises; Learning disabled teenagers; Word processing in education

Disciplines

Special Education and Teaching

Abstract

This study was conducted to investigate the effects of computer based word processing versus paper and pencil in essay composition. This study used a repeated measure and an alternating treatment design to compare student performance in constructing essays under two experimental conditions a.) using a computer based word processor and b.) using paper and pencil. Analysis of error rate and measure for each student indicated varied improvements under the computer condition for composition length, length of sentences, grammatically correct sentences, paragraph development, content area, composing time, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Participants included twenty-five secondary students with mild learning disabilities.

The study participants composed three computer generated essays along with three essays written using paper and pencil over a four month period using an alternating treatment. These same participants were part of a pretreatment information gathering session for each essay composed.

The results are encouraging with improvement occurring in specific areas. These efforts represent encouragement to teachers and administrators to utilize instruction in computer usage and computer technology to its fullest potential regarding populations with mild learning disabilities.

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