A comparative study of writing samples from students with emotional disabilities using peer and independent revision
Kindzierski, Corinne M
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This study examined the qualitative and quantitative effects of peer and independent revision methods. Specifically, the study was designed to determine several factors including: (a) which method of revision produced a greater number of meaningful revisions between drafts, (b) what did students talk about during the peer-conference, (c) did instituting a more sociocultural based approach to writing enact any social changes in the students' themselves, and (d) is ability or capability socially constructed in terms of writing and if so are such roles dynamic? The study was a single-subject, alternating treatment design. The sample consisted of eight students in a predominately low socio-economic urban school. Students of mixed gender and race were in a self-contained, multi-level class designed for students with significant behavioral/emotional disabilities. Students wrote daily and received both conditions weekly in a counterbalanced fashion. Results indicated that students made more surface level revisions in the independent condition and produced more content-related revisions in the peer-condition. In either condition, the second draft was more descriptive than the first, and students' in the peer condition increased their use of complex vocabulary and organizational components. Moreover, discussion during peer-conferencing was positive, appropriate and topic-related. Qualitative results suggested students fluctuated between "more capable", "less capable" and "more capable members assisting others" dependent on the social context and academic demands. Further, students developed zones of possibilities and built collective zones of proximal developments through interaction and transaction. Results lend support for a multidimensional view of literacy.