A technology-enhanced approach to self-regulated strategy development: Engaging adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders in argumentative writing
Hashey, Andrew Ian
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Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) tend to struggle in written expression. Self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) is one evidence-based instructional approach for teaching writing to students with a wide range of disabilities, including those with EBD. A multi-probe multiple-baseline across participants design was utilized to evaluate the impact of the intervention on adolescent students' persuasive writing at baseline, post-instruction, and maintenance phases. Measures included participants' inclusion of persuasive essay parts, total words, number of transition words, and holistic essay quality. Five tenth- and eleventh-grade students with EBD participated in this study using a technology-infused approach to SRSD writing instruction. Semi-structured interviews were utilized to explore how students perceived and used the tablet-based supports during the intervention, and were also used to uncover themes in students' perceptions of writing and technology both in and outside of school, as well as the compositional practices and technology tools employed in both contexts. All participants meaningfully improved their ability to include essential essay parts, increased their total word and transition word count, and also increased their holistic essay scores during the post-intervention phase. A maintenance probe performed eight weeks after instruction revealed that performance remained substantially higher than baseline essay data. Dominant themes emerging from the analysis of case studies centered on participants' (a) low self-perceptions in writing, (b) desire for increased instruction and choice when learning to write, (c) differing valuations of writing across contexts and platforms, and (d) satisfaction with the writing strategy and materials. Participants' extensive engagement in out-of-school literacy practices contrasted with their writing experiences in school, suggesting the need to revitalize writing instruction for students with EBD. Implications for research and practice are discussed.