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The study aimed at assessing the impact of writing across the curriculum on standardized test scores by completion of fifth grade: An in-depth review of extensive writing practices within elementary classroom. The main purpose of the study was to examine the impact of writing as a teaching technique. The study used 150 learners in public elementary schools in Southwest Mississippi. The researcher also used the school administrators as the research respondents. The study assumed that the teachers have vast knowledge about writing as a teaching technique.
However, the study was limited by the inaccuracy of the information from some of the respondents. The study used quantitative design to analyze data. The primary tool for data collection was mostly current, post-test scores, questionnaires and interview schedules. The research adhered to ethical considerations and conducted an informed consent. Although, a letter for permission to conduct formal observations and research using test data was delivered to the Superintendent, it was not utilized impart to the fact that the data used to conduct research was public information. Verbal consent was given by the Superintendent to conduct research utilizing only informal observations and public test data. Many public institutions in the State of Mississippi adhere to an open-door policy which permits multiple observations. All data and observations utilized in this research was conducive to all laws, rules, and regulations set forth by the Mississippi Department of Education.
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
Writing well provides the learners with the ability to compete and collaborate on a global scale and gain the capacity to communicate efficiently. According to Hamby (2012), the changing global economy demands that a learner should adopt effective communication and writing skills in their academic studies. The adults require that their children acquire the ability to function in a diverse workforce, motivate and communicate efficiently.
Writing is a vital form of conversing that creates intelligence and promotes logical reasoning; thorough expression through the formation of ideas. According to Alenger (2015), epistemological studies such as Vygotsky and Piaget support a vital link and correlation between language and thought that promotes an understanding of one's environment. More so, Ormrod (2015) states that writing is an outcome of methodic involvement among the brain, hands and the eyes thus it is a dominant form of learning. Learning has a direct correlation between rationalizing and reasoning that makes one conclude that it is a critical component in instruction. Thus, writing helps learners to compete and collaborate on a global scale.
Moraa et al. (2012) opine that the quality of learning and teaching has dropped at the federal, states, and the local levels, as well as the regulation standards set in place, have failed. Several stakeholders blame the English department for deficiencies in communicative abilities and responsibility for literacy instruction of the students. According to the latest report from the National Center for Education Statistics states that fifth-grade learners have improved their writing skills since the 2002 NAEP from 148 to 153 on a 0-300 scale.
However, Gray & MacBlain (2015) states that before the 2002 NAEP results indicate that the traditional written required the instructors to center on a constricting, formulaic and prescriptive approach that emphasized on the usage of grammar. Writing instruction is vital in the assigning of tasks in the learning process that easily scored for several mechanical errors. More so, writing requires a change in the attitude to promote learning not just among the educators, but also to the general public. Despite the increasing rates at which instructors are adopting writing, writing of assignments is not necessarily promoting logical reasoning and higher-order thinking. Some teachers limit the abilities of the learners in writing because they feel that writing is purely found in the taxonomy of language arts in classroom learning.
According to Keenan (2012), the quality of incorporation of learning activities such as writing in the classroom is essential in determining of the best learning of a child. In U.S., each of the states is evaluated by the learners' ability to understand basics of education. Neill (2014) says that the most prevalent factor that determines the ability of the students to get an insight into learning. The main purpose of this study is to explore the knowledge and skills of teachers about teaching and planning writing lessons that lead to modest writing training received in the initial preparation programs. Writing includes other instructional components such as handwriting, communication, children's literature and storytelling. The study stresses a lot of importance on the role of writing across curriculum and prompts that writing does not happen in one instance or course thus it is a continuous process.
Test Master Press Maryland (2014) opines that the following conditions of general prompting, content specific prompting, and no prompting there is a significant change in the number of sentences, words and the average length of a sentence in writing among the fifth graders. A corollary to the various investigations on this trend indicates that student writing performance correlates with the readability of the learners.
Based on the above framework, the primary independent variable in the study was writing techniques used by the teachers among the fifth graders while the dependent variable was measured by the effects of sentence frequency, word frequency, and the length of the sentence. The intervening variable in the study can be the laws of the state about the education system and the technique used in teaching such as computer programs or teaching manuals while the school management can be the moderating variable in the study.
This study adopted a theory of knowledge such as constructivism that argues that individuals generate meaning and knowledge from an interaction between ideas and experiences. The theory is instrumental in various disciplines such as psychology, education, and sociology. The theory examined the interaction between behavior patterns or reflexes and human experiences such as learning. Thus, learning, in this case, was used as a human behavior and the elementary school was used as the discipline. According to Piaget, the behavior patterns was regarded as systems of knowledge and the theory had an enormous impact on learning theories and teaching methods in education such as writing among the fifth graders (Moraa et al., 2012).
In the above instruction design, the ability of learners to improve their writing process rely on several aspects such as the type of the learners, the environment, and the teaching method. The teaching technique is the teaching method and teachers can use several techniques such as incorporation of technology and computer programs into teaching the writing process. The other category of the factors is the type of the students and the teaching environment. Several factors affect the type of the learners such as attitude and motivation. Well, motivated learners will gain a higher score in writing as opposed to learners who are less motivated. Also, students with a negative attitude towards writing may score low rate as compared to students with positive attitudes. The theory measures the writing performance as either appealing, effective or efficient.
e. Definition of Terms
No prompting: Refers to the stimuli or response given by the instructors about his or her writing composition content during the writing process.
Curriculum: Refers to the interaction of both explicit and hidden forces that shape learning the process.
Commissioner: Refers to the Superintendent/ Deputy Superintendent.
Elementary school: Refers to the study from kindergarten to the fifth grade.
General prompting: Refers to the statement that are not aimed or directed to a particular writer or learner and his or her composition.
Content specific prompting: Refers to the instructors comments on an individual student to prompt their writing performance.
Writing performance: Refers to the writing performance determined by several sentences, the average length of a sentence, and some words.
This study based on several assumptions such as:
i. The teacher had expertise in teaching the fifth graders and had specific reasons for using writing as a teaching technique across the curriculum and was willing to discuss with the fifth graders both formally and informally.
ii. Writing was very vital in the classroom learning and the activities in writing involved assessing the length of a word, sentence, handwriting and other aspects of good writing skills.
iii. The teacher was aware of the various uses of writing as a teaching technique within and across the curriculum and discussed them formally and informally.
iv. The instructors perceived the subtle differences in how writing was used within the elementary classroom and distinguished them with other teaching techniques such as reading and comprehension.
g. Significance of the Study
The only way to examine the impact of teaching writing across the curriculum is to analyze standardized test scores by completion of fifth grade within elementary classroom. Infusing writing across curriculum among the fifth graders helps one to avoid polarized philosophical opinions that dominate the academic discussions and consider subtle details that create writing as a teaching technique across the curriculum. The examination of these details will open a discussion about subtle and complex differences that make writing part of teaching technique.
The English department has adopted the importance of writing in ensuring that students improve in their learning process. Several studies have emerged for assessing the effect of writing in learning across curriculum especially on issues such as attitude, student learning, and motivation. Such studies are limited and make attempts to assess other teaching techniques other than writing; thus there are no efforts to examine the subtle details of learning and teaching within an individual classroom. This study will analyze the topic in a different manner by assessing the impact of the impact of teaching across the curriculum on standardized test scores by completion of fifth grade using writing as the basic teaching technique within elementary classroom.
The major purpose of this study was to examine the impact of writing on teaching across the curriculum on standardized test scores by completion of fifth grade within elementary classroom. The study assessed the introduction, statement of the problem, the purpose of the study, theoretical framework, definition of terms and assumptions in the study.
CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF LITERATURE
a. Introduction: Review of Literature
According to Hew & Cheung (2014), writing skills are very vital for the component of literacy as learners ought to be proficient in writing for their future. According to the recent report released by International Reading Association (IRA), the literacy requirements for the society are increasing with high expectations to continue to rise. Researchers have found out that by 2020, learners will need very powerful literacy abilities to participate in various activities at workplaces and the society. More so, technological changes have altered the way we use language in communication.
Neill (2014) asserts that the recent changes in the job market require participants to have insights about writing. He states that employers in the future will require written products thus citing writing as an important skill in the improvement among new employees in U.S. The findings by Hamby (2012) illustrate that it is important for students to develop writing skills and especially in the job skill. According to Alenger (2015), writing is a unique mode of learning that involves the participation of both left and right hemisphere of the brain. Several critics agree that writing enhances thinking skills, develops synthesis and has higher cognitive functions.
Thus, several researchers agree that writing is the main source of solution problem of studying across the curriculum. According to Ormrod (2015), ‘at-risk' student refers to learners who have unsatisfactory standardized tests scores and pose failed grades in core academic subjects. Several research recommendations help ‘at-risk' learners such as teachers should incorporate effective programs for ‘at-risk' students. The teachers should incorporate effective learning methods such as writing to help the learners get insights such as comprehension, sentences, words, and phrases as well as differentiate between a word, sentence and a phrase.
b. Student Writing Performance
The continuous testing on student writing provides evidence on the writing performance of the learners. The achievement for most learners is writing, and there has been a continuous evolvement of the writing process that includes students across the various levels of learning. Performance refers to the process of generating writing techniques daily to increase the word volume and the frequency of producing sentences as a vital approximation that leads to achieving the desired goal. Good writers must pose the ability to write more while good readers must articulate more words and sentences. Thus, the domain about writing performance of the learners entails various techniques and methodologies to improve the writing performance.
According to Developmental Studies Center (2012), the learners writing focus on several aspects that entail written communication. In some studies, the measure of writing performance may rely on the length of the sentence and the word count. For instance, Bogard & McMackin (2012) proposed a plan that uses a journal to capture the attention of the learners and encourage the students to write more at their level best.
In the research, the author outlined the a baseline for the first period of three weeks to get acquainted with knowledge on the evaluation of the attitudes of the students and measure the fluency of the learners based on their writing skills. The study provided a guide on how the students can use imagery and visual aspects to learn more writing techniques. In the research, the author measured the fluency of learners regarding the word count the learners could write in a single day. However, Dierking & Fox (2012) opine that the number of words does not directly show the writing quality, but it is a step in showing the improvement of the learners in attempting to learn more writing techniques.
Bogard & McMackin (2012) conducted a study on the impact of creating a synonymous list and self-counting on the total number of words written by three African American first graders tested in the achievement of the benchmark testing. The researcher gave a similar writing assignment to other sixteen students, but he focused on the three learners. In the study, the intervention of the research included the use of graphs and counting the number of words that the respondents wrote in the first three minutes. The dependent variables of the study included the total word count and a number of different words. From the study, the results showed an increase in the number of words and different words used. The learners improved their writing through encouragement to use synonyms to create a variety of words and counting the number of words.
In another study, Atwell (2014) conducted research on the learners with ADHD on self-regulated strategy instructions that had difficulties in writing after assessment of the teachers. The teachers used one of the lessons on opinion narratives and established a baseline score. The tutor instructed the learners select their topic using planning strategies as w ell as use writing plan and organize their notes. The teacher graded the learners based on aspects such as topic sentence, concluding sentence and various details. In the respondents scored based on the rate at which they used elements of the essay such as overall quality and number of words used. Thus, the results indicated that the learners scored in several writing elements and wrote higher quality essays based on the writing intervention.
Developmental Studies Center (2012) asserts that the attitude, gender and the level of grade has a direct impact on the success of writing of a learner. In the study, the researcher conducted an analysis using 430 respondents, both girls and boys in their fifth grade coming across low, middle to high socio-economic backgrounds. The researcher provided the respondents with a questionnaire on attitudes that the participants had on the writing across the various grade levels. The questions in the questionnaire were organized on a Likert scale with 19 questions. Blau (2011) posits that the relationship between attitude, writing achievement, writing attitude and schooling improvement are closely related. Thus, students with negative attitude performed poorly in writing while the learners who were positive about the writing process garnered higher scores.
c. Teacher Professional Development
The development of quality professional encourages quality instructions for the learners. The teachers ought to have writing expertise to help the learners acquire proficient writing skills. The instructors gain more competence after realizing the need for improvement in the methodologies they use. The level of confidence is vital for the instructors to make a huge chance in the writing process. The teachers should acquire writing skills first as participant other than gaining knowledge on how to write. Thus, teachers should develop professional expertise as it helps in the improvement of the writing performance and achievement of the results in various studies.
Developmental Studies Center (2012) proposes that development of professional knowledge should be conducted over a period of time. In one study, the researcher used five respondents in the fourth grade with their teachers and divided the class into two with different teachers under similar conditions. The teaching style was the control group, and it remained constant. The difference in the study was the duration taken for the instructors to utilize fully their teaching sessions.
The study highlighted that the use of one-day instructional session does not have a huge impact on the behavior of the teachers as depicted in the professional development that took a relatively short period of time. More so, the study found out that instructors do not replicate all the information they acquire during professional development in the classroom session. More so, there is limited change in the achievement of the learners or instructions due to limited professional development. The process of learning how to write requires the teachers and learners to take time due to work involved in practice, teaching and models used in the process. Thus, development of professional skills for a long period of time with good practice leads to an improvement in the teaching process.
According to Atwell (2014), the behavior of the teachers has a huge impact on the outcomes of the learners as the teacher can make a difference in the performance of the students. In a study conducted by Developmental Studies Center (2012), shows the difference in performance of the learners who get instructions from teachers with professional development and the learners who acquire writing skills from tutors without professional development. From the study, it was evident that the learners taught by teachers with professional development skills recorded higher score as compared to learners who got acquire writing skills from unprofessional teachers. The professional development skills help the teachers to understand the basics of writing, the procedures and the facts a student should learn before handling the certain assignment. The teachers who have professional development course get knowledge on how to deal with the conversation of the child to elicit dialogue and language skills. The teachers with professional development courses receive courses and tips on how to promote exchanges that enrich the language of the children.
Atwell (2014) acknowledges that prompting is closely related to motivation factors of the learners. The learners are usually willing to get the point of other to continue responding to writing issues. The process of prompting the learners while in the writing process motivates the youths to engage in more writing techniques. The teachers can use strategies such as encouraging learners to talk to themselves is encouraging and motivational to the learners especially in the writing process. The learners can use practices such as self-talk phrases like, ‘keep writing' is characterized as a self-feedback. The learners do evaluate themselves in a positive manner when evaluating their open-ended responses. More so, the motivation of the learners can be realized through the delivery of genuine and authentic content. The learners can easily motivate themselves due to the internationalization of similar positive comments from the teacher.
According to Brouwer (2012), most of the learners have shown the tendency to continue to write as a form of motivation. The motivated learners tend to write more until they are exhausted with the ideas. Developmental Studies Center (2012) highlights that the teachers have the mandate to help the learners write more through motivational talks and encouraging content statements, questions or comments. The recent proven motivational comments in the writing prompt of the learners may include the addition of word ‘because' at the end of the written paper.
The word ‘because' helps the learners to develop new ideas and even write more. However, Dierking & Fox (2012) posit that several learners become less interested in writing because the prompts that learners use involves a lot of stress and most instructors use it as a form of punishment. The instructors have failed to motivate the learners through positive communication tool and not impose negative practices such as writing apology letters. More so, negative attitude of the instructors has a huge impact on the development and writing process of the student.
According to Dierking & Fox (2012), the perspectives of the instructors on writing, the progress of the learners in writing skills, engagement and the motivation in writing has a great impact on the performance of the student in the writing process. The learning topic with prescription on the writing program motivated the students to write more words. More so, the learning process with a pre-determined topic and subtopics provided a maximum concentration in the writing process. Thus, the student wrote more words when given a selected topic and audience as compared to when the learners were just told to write down some words and sentences.
In another study, Developmental Studies Center (2012) conducted research on a school-wide program that encouraged students to write letters. The research aimed at examining the relationship between the motivation and attitude of the learners in letter mailing program. The survey included the attitude of the learners towards writing for eight months. The study results indicated that the motivation of the learners to write letters increased by a margin of 50% though the students did not indicate that through letter writing, they would improve their writing ability. Despite the fact that the learners were required to write a letter to their friends, they did not indicate that the liked the practice. Thus, the ability of the learners to enjoy letter writing increased the writing skills and motivation of the learners in the process of writing.
According to Blau (2011), the process of writing can easily move into an environment that permits and promote writing across the curriculum if the teachers start adopting the teaching technique and method. The process of writing ought to change and become a personable, meaningful and daily activity that incorporates skill, genre, process, strategy and technology for the improvement of the learners. The instructors are faced with the challenge to incorporate technology into the classroom instructions and improve the performance of the students. More so, the current expectations of the 21st century have increased challenges of the teachers to incorporate technology into the writing process.
The instructors have access to several software programs that help the learners in the acquisition of instructional commands. Various programs help the teachers in guiding the learners through writing and development process of writing. The computer programs help the teachers in the learning process of writing as they provide the resources that the instructors require and increase the motivation of the learners. The computer writing programs use grammar instructions and word processing and use approaches like the problem-based approach to increase the development of the students in the learning process. Brouwer (2012) opines that programs that favor concept mapping, word processing, word analysis and grammar are not recommended for teachers to use in teaching the process of writing. However, most of the computer programs do not assist the teachers in tracking the progress of the learners thus they are limited in impact and capacity.
Atwell (2014) asserts that teachers that use research-based programs in writing provide an effective way to monitor and track the progress of the learners as well as give specific feedback about the students. The programs that incorporate technology into writing motivate the students and even encourage the learners to increase the time they spent in the writing process. Thus, if the education experts incorporate technology and writing well, the technique can be useful in complementing the classroom instructions as the learners learn to work independently. More so, use of writing programs helps the learners in receiving an immediate feedback and gain a sense of accomplishment. The teachers ought to be flexible when dealing with technological changes as they can hinder the process of scheduling the computer lab sessions. However, several teachers view the issues of malfunction in technology application and inappropriate scheduling of the computer lessons as a minor problem and as part of the writing process.
Blau (2011) opines that the type of computer program the instructors use in the teaching of writing process does not have a huge impact on the performance of the learners but they should aim at increasing the time spent in the writing process. The learners tend to gain insights about writing process from collaboration with their instructors and their classmates. Many education systems adopt the use of computer program that has word process because it is a vital aspect of the effective writing instructions. Thus, district official should fully support schools that have integrated the use of technology in the writing process to help in the effective implementation.
f. Teacher Preparation
According to Developmental Studies Center (2012), the education program should shift its focus from preparing the learners for academic purposes to clinical practices. The preparation of teachers should incorporate professional classes and theoretical content about writing process. More so, there is a need for the teacher education program to reduce the existing gap between the way of preparing teachers and the needs of the schools. The most effective impact on learning and achievement of the student are to presences of an effective teacher in the classroom. According to Brouwer (2012), an effective teacher refers to an instructor who has expertise in curricula, well versed with issues about the society and understands the growth and development of the child and engages the learners in his or her teaching process.
The teacher learning process should incorporate a foundation on the writing process and basics that learners require during the process. The education program should set the communication of the teachers a priority during the enrollment. The teaching program also entails the teachers on the acquisition of knowledge on how to teach reading and places emphasis on the reading of instructions. The writing instructions at the teachers training college should focus on write as well as teach the writing process. The teachers colleges should teach the process of writing through several strategies and gain knowledge in effective writing practices. The teacher education program should start incorporating experienced professors in making the teachers acquire writing skills.
Blau (2011) highlights that after the pre-service teachers acquire a permanent job, they should learn to gain a deeper understanding of the aspects of teaching writing in enhancing the knowledge of the learners. The teachers also should take personal initiative and participate in the development of the professional skills to gain a deeper understanding of how to develop writing styles. The process of developing professional standards should meet the needs of the students and also motivate the learners in gaining insights about meaningful and purposeful writing. The teachers should engage in the writing process other than teaching the learners on how to write to gain confidence in the acquired and learned skills. The teachers can also encourage the learners to create an energizing classroom of the students through participating in the writing process.
According to Fields et al (2012), effective teachers should incorporate several strategies such as the competence of the learners and teacher pedagogy to develop the voice, the conventions, organization and ideas of the learners. The teacher should have expertise knowledge, be responsive and creative to participate in the professional development of the students and help the students improve their writing practices. If the teachers have professional expertise will help the instructors to create vital and new techniques of working with the learners. More so, the training session of the teachers helps them acquire effective instructions that stimulate and motivates the learners.
g. Teacher Beliefs and Participation
The perception and beliefs of the teacher can have a huge impact on the ways of teaching writing. The instructors with negative feelings about writing will always avoid writing due to the apprehensive feelings. The attitudes of the teachers and the writing samples of the instructors have an impact on the general impact on the writing process. In a study, Hawkins & Razali (2012) found out the several pre-service teachers felt that writing was based on personal reference and instructors good in writing came out as excellent writers. The ability of the instructors to offer valuable and constructive feedback helped the learners in the acquisition of several writing strategies.
h. Role of Instructors
According to Atwell (2014), the instructors aim at improving the writing of the learners in the current education program. The students require numerous learning instructions to help achieve effective writing process. First, the teachers should create a conducive environment that favors the writing process, create opportunities for the learners to get the right choice and write workshops that will boost the operations in the classroom. More so, the teacher should learn about the previous writing techniques and processes. The teachers should learn the various genres of writing, conventions and strategies they can use for effective writing lessons. The students should partners of the tutors in the writing process to prosper. The students should use rubrics in the writing process to assess the process of writing. The students should learn about the expectations and gain knowledge about writing to improve their link with their literacy and the motivation.
According to Brouwer (2012), there is the need for the teacher to develop a model that will help the learners in gaining an understanding of writing. The teachers should ensure that the learners understand the expectations of the instructors. The teachers should adopt the use rubrics in the writing process. According to Developmental Studies Center (2012), the repetitive use of writing models in the classroom has a huge impact on the effectiveness of the writing process for the students. The students learn from the experience of the teachers such as how they handle their frustrations, how they write and how to handle the classroom. Thus, the learners understand that the process of writing is difficult, and it also bothers the adults though there are appropriate ways of dealing with the problem. The students also learn that their teachers also go through difficult moments when writing thus they should learn to persevere.
According to International Reading Association (2011), several learners have a negative feeling about writing, and they feel it is a difficult process. Piaget proposed that the learners may find it hard to perform writing task below eleven years; thus, they are not good writers at this age. On the other hand, Vygotsky proposed that the learners should achieve their ability if taught at their potential cognitive level. Thus, the children at nine years can effectively write a persuasive essay if given instructions and requirements of the paper.
More so, Developmental Studies Center (2012) opines that girls are good writers than boys and several students are faced with difficulties with warrants during writing. Thus, there are several learning models in writing such as the Vygotsky social interactional approach. When the teachers use such approaches, the learning process triggers the potential of the students as opposed other rigid approaches that rely on the curriculum. Thus, teachers have the mandate to models writing designs that address the various writing levels and encourage the learners to move in accordance with the levels. The teachers have the responsibility to encourage the learners to utilize the conferences and demonstrations.
According to Brouwer (2012), several learners require the structured framework of expectations in various aspects of the curriculum, especially in writing. The teachers should provide the learners with rubrics to help them deal with writing their assignment effectively. The learners use writing to form the implementation and development team in the formation of the rubrics. According to Blau (2011), writing rubrics refers to the writing traits that are easily identified representing vital qualities. According to Dierking & Fox (2012), the use of writing rubrics helps in the creation of a difference in the writing process. In the research, 56% of the respondents improved their writing due to self-evaluation after using rubrics as a guide.
Mata (2011) asserts that the process of writing improves due to regular practice. In a study conducted by Piasta et al. (2012), the researcher observed the teacher's writing instructions for one year and observed that as the learner spends more time practicing the process of writing, the more he or she will become perfect in the art. The learners increase their chances of acquiring more writing skills if they spend more time writing and revising their work. The research also highlights that the teachers found out the importance of continuous writing making them emphasize the writing process. The study found out that the learners ought to practice writing to become confident and competent writers. National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (2015) opines that learners cannot develop the skills, will, knowledge and self-regulation of writing if they do not get the encouragement from their teachers to engage in the frequent practice of writing. The student should thus value and regulate the writing process to make it a successful venture.
Olinghouse et al. (2012) acknowledge that the writers come up with specific written materials due to certain intentions and purpose. The children should thus gain a sense of audience to develop good writing mechanisms. The children can gain a sense of the audience through constructive peer editing. The instructors should teach the learners objective responses with an emphasis on the audience, voice, and style. The students should also understand that writing well implies provoking a response from the audience. The reflections and peer comments focus on the rubric highlighting weaknesses and strengths of the written piece.
The response from the audience helps the writer to realize the insights that the audience found in the paper. The writers thus use the response of the audience to learn the reactions of the audiences and even adapt to their values and what they like and dislike about the written materials. However, the aspect of gaining the writing style of the learners and the practice encompass comprehensive writing process. The teachers should also help the learners realize the reality of writing through assignments such as lists, essays, journalism, and responses. The writing elements portray varied audience, writing purpose and writing style. The learners make good writing due to their lifetime experiences. The students who write about subjects and topics that affect their daily life makes writing process purposeful.
The main goal of the instructors is to build on tacit competencies and integrate language effectively. The teachers use the oriented curriculum at the beginning of their career. The orientation of skills is vital to practice format, writing rules, and mechanics of writing. The teachers who use the orientation of skills in writing make the process of writing uneventful and dull. The performance movement describes the basics that learners require achieving excellence. The performance standards help the teachers to get more opportunities for the learners to write for a certain and specific purpose.
This chapter evaluated the literature review about the importance of writing across the curriculum. The section provides recent studies and solutions to student performance in schools. The chapter deals with previous studies on the prompts that teachers use to ensure that the learners improve in their writing. The section highlights previous studies that show how the learners can improve their writing through the changes in the education system or when teachers gain professional standards. The literature also asserts that the changes in technology have a huge impact on the way the learners gain insights about writing and even become motivated about the writing process. Several authors conclude that writing requires practice.
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY
The main purpose of this chapter was to describe the research methods used in this study including the design, subjects, ethical considerations, instrumentation, procedure, analysis, limitations, and summary. The purpose of the investigation was determined by the impact of writing across the curriculum on standardized test scores by completion of fifth grade in reviewing writing practices within elementary classroom. The conditions in this study relied on no prompting, general prompting, and content-specific prompting as well as the significant changes in the average length of a sentence, some words and number of sentences generated by fifth graders in Southwest Rural Mississippi Public School District. The study aimed at relating the readability of the learners and their performance levels.
The study adopted quantitative research design. The major independent variable in the study was writing techniques used by the teachers among the fifth graders while the dependent variable was measured by the effects of sentence frequency, word frequency, and the length of the sentence. The study also measured the reading ease and reading difficulty per the prompting techniques. The study was conducted in Southwest Rural Mississippi Public School District. The study also compared the test scores of fifth-grade learners in 2010 with current 2014 test results. The study used 150 students within two elementary schools, located in southwest Mississippi.
The study was conducted in Southwest Rural Mississippi Public School District. The study involved students in the fifth grade. The subjects in the study ranged from the age of 9 to 12 years, and the sex distribution was 52% boys with 48% girls. The study included ethnicity of the various ethnic groups in U.S. The study included 63% African American, 38% Caucasian, 6% East Indians and 2% other. The study involved school administrators who gave the researcher verbal permission to make three observations in their schools. The school administrators assisted in provided the researchers with relevant information about the performance of the students in fifth grade (public test data). The administrators availed the 2010 results and the 2014 results; other relevant information such as learners who needed special attention. More so, the researcher observed the school's performance sheet and the teaching techniques used by the fifth-grade learners. More so, the researcher analyzed the ability of the learners' that can write effectively across the various disciplines in the curriculum.
The study results and the process had a huge impact on the operations of the schools; thus, the researcher took the ethical approach and conducted carefully. The researcher adhered to the institutional ethics in the discipline. First, the study included voluntary respondents only. The researcher gave out the consent form to all respondents before proceeding with the completion of the online form. The consent forms allowed the respondents to opt willingly stop participating in the survey.
Secondly, the researcher ensured that the respondents had privacy anonymity. The researcher published and reported the general findings based on the summary and analysis of the data. The researcher later explained that the study was meant for academic purposes only. The researcher protected the identity of the respondents by not revealing the data to any third party. The researcher ensured that the respondents got this from the introductory part of the questionnaires. The study also ensured that the schools and other educational institutions remained anonymous (Kumar, 2014). The researcher developed a strong coding scheme that hindered access to the results from any third party organization.
According to Creswell (2013), the researchers should observe the principles of beneficence. The study ensured that the respondents were safe even after completing and filling in the questionnaires. The respondents were also free from psychological discomfort due to the nature of the questions. The study questionnaires did not intimidate or harm the respondents in any way. Also, the study observed principles of respect for human dignities such as self-determination and full disclosure. The respondents in the study decided to participate in the study without any coercion.
The study adopted a quantitative research design. The study used questionnaires as a secondary form of obtaining data for the research. The study obtained questionnaires based on the research questions and objectives of the study. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of writing across the curriculum on standardized test scores by completion of fifth grade within elementary classroom. The researcher utilized 2010 and 2014 test results from 150 students from public schools in Southwest Mississippi. The study was conducted by the willing school administrators and teachers that received a letter with information about the study, a consent form and a questionnaire. The completed questionnaires were not used in data analysis. More so, the study intended to use other data collection instruments such as pre and post-test data. The questionnaires in this study contained two parts: Part A contained details of the respondents while part B contained short answers and yes/no questions about the impact of writing on performance among fifth graders. The question focused on the literature review and other research instruments used in the study. The research conducted a pilot study in one of the public schools to observe the efficiency of the research tools used. The researcher conducted an observation on the impact of writing across the curriculum with characteristics of the study sample to determine the consistency of the responses and clarity of the items.
The researcher contacted the district's superintendent and the local administrative office district, school administrators through a formal letter requesting for permission to conduct research in public schools in the Southwest Mississippi, utilizing only public test data. The letters included an overview of the study, the benefits that the study will have on the learners and the potential benefits of the study results to improve the performance of fifth graders through writing programs.
The study also highlighted that the study is not a form of an experiment, but it was an additional curriculum based activity that could be part of the instructional program across the curriculum. The intervention of the study was to observe the writing production of the learners across the curriculum. The study used writing prompts from the 2010 test scores and linked them with the current teaching technique in public schools. Although, formal letters were written to request the use of data they were not needed to compare 2010 and 2014 test data, impart to the fact that the test data used is made public to all stakeholders of the educational system.
The researcher assessed the data in the study by analyzing the various kinds of inferential and descriptive statistical techniques such as mean, median, frequency distribution and summated errors. The study also used Chi-square and analysis of variance. The descriptive analysis in the study pointed out to the expected and unexpected patterns, variance, clustering, distribution in sample sizes, the number of valid cases and summary statistics for the distribution of the scores. The study used the Chi-square to determine if the proportions in the distributions are either independent of one another or dependent. The study used variance to determine if there are any significant differences in the means for the average length of a sentence across the curriculum. The study used graphs and tables to visualize and interpret the numerical data.
This study was limited by various factors such as:
i.The samples for the investigation was selected in a non-random manner
ii.The study was also limited by the honesty of the classroom teacher and their ability to articulate the intentions that will directly impact the quality of the data collected from the interview and the questionnaires.
iii.The small sample size occurred because of purposeful sampling
This chapter discussed the methodology of the study, the research design, the population, sample, instruments of data collection and the ethical considerations.
CHAPTER 4: DATA ANALYSIS
The chapter is organized into data analysis and analysis of the various items. The main purpose of the study was to examine the impact of the writing across the curriculum on standardized test scores by completion of fifth grade within elementary classroom. The study analyzed the concepts of no prompting, content specific prompting and general prompting on student writing. The analysis looked into any significant changes in the number of words, average sentence length and number of sentences. The study thus answered the questions whether the difficulty of the text and prompting type increased the written complexity of the learners' writing.
b. Data Analysis
After administering the learners with the writing template, the study analyzed the writing samples regarding the number of sentences, the number of words and the average length of the sentence. The outcomes of the results were distinguished by three teacher-prompting methods: content specific, general and no prompting. The study used teachers with a bachelor's degree with further professional development training in creative writing. The teaching experience ranged from one and half years to 47 years. 40% of the teachers used in this study possessed more than 20 years of experience. The participating students (n =150)ranged from 9 to 12 years. The results showed that 73% of the writing samples from the schools were estimated at mastery or above master. The schools registered 27% of the learners at ‘need improvement' or ‘partial mastery'. The table 1.0 below represents the Chi-Square Test of significance for the estimated language score with a significant difference (p.000) for the language estimated between the schools.
From the study, the mean difference for the total number of words between the prompting conditions was eight score points. The word count for general prompting (165.8) varied considerably with content specific prompting (153.32) as well as general prompting (161.5). Content specific prompting recorded the lowest word production. The overall number of words written was 160.3. The figures represented a huge range in the category with words ranging between 23 to 385 written words. The test results obtained failed to show statistical significance between the word production and the type of prompting. (F (2, 136=2.64, p=073).
The study also sought to identify the relationship between the type of prompting technique and the total number of sentences written by the respondents. There was a difference in the number of sentences written with the different prompting type. The none prompting type recorded 6.5 while general prompting recorded 6.6 with the variability of specific prompting doubling to 13.8. The study results used a minimum of 1 sentence and a maximum of 126 sentences. The content specific prompting included a broad range of ideas, but it did not increase the number of sentences. The length of the sentence was identical, and the study did not seek to any inferential test of significance.
The study results indicated no significant differences in the sentence production and the written words by the children across the type of prompting use. More so, the schools differed regarding teacher estimates of writing skills across the state. The study also found out little differences in the writing production across the types of prompting between the various elementary schools in Mississippi. Thus, the results indicated that the teacher type of prompting method had little impact on the existing writing skills of the learners and the pupils' production. More so, the study found no significant difference between the socio-economic and the writing production in various schools across the state.
CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS, IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of the writing across the curriculum on standardized test scores by completion of fifth grade within elementary classroom. The selected prompting method or the study included general prompting, no prompting, and content specific prompting. The study held the belief that the learners held expectations and belief that the writing production of the pupils would be affected differentially by the guidance during the prompting process and the variation in teacher control. The next purpose of the study was to determine the relationship between the readability levels and the writing performance.
This study was limited by various factors such as:
i.The samples for the investigation will be selected in a non-random manner
ii.The study will also be limited by the honesty of the classroom teacher and their ability to articulate the intentions that will directly impact the quality of the data collected from the interview and the questionnaires.
iii.The small sample size will occur because of purposeful sampling
Despite the fact that the current study failed to highlight any effect of writing production for the prompting used, there are several kinds of prompting techniques such as metacognitive, gestural, video, pictorial and graphic that help the learners to write more effectively. Thus, several researchers should continue test and search effective methods that are relevant to the student characteristics and populations. More so, individual differences determine the writing skills of the students and there is no single prompt that best fit all the methods. The literature review in the study also attests to the fact that the little research has evaluated the effects of writing instruction.
In the study, the sentence and word production did not differ across the type of prompting; it did not imply that the students lacked sufficient writing skills. However, the study did not have a corresponding measure of the ease of reading the sample writing passages from another reader. The findings from the study contradicted because the scores between the numbers of 60-70 were regarded as normal. The stakeholders in the researcher were supposed to be well versed with the urgency and importance of professional development for the classroom teachers. Thus, one cannot assume that teacher with many numbers of years of experience is well versed in instructional teaching methods as well as assessing the writing development. More so, one cannot assume that newly recruited teachers entered the profession with adequate instructional methodologies and skills to prepare the learners effectively.
The study offered several interested stakeholders the opportunity to research further into the topic based on its conclusions. First, the research failed to show vital improvement in the writing performance of the learners; it is impossible to generalize if other types of prompting will have a huge impact and improve the performance of pupils' writing. This study also did not examine the various types of professional development on writing strategies to find out if there is a link between the improved writing performance and more professional development. Further research can also consider practicing personalized writing topics and assess if there is any slight difference in the results determined by self-selection. The study did not consider differences in the results from public and private school students thus there is a need to assess the prompting techniques that would register different results in the two contexts.
The study was conducted in Southwest Rural Mississippi Public School District. The study involved school administrators and students in the fifth grade. The subjects in the study ranged from the age of 9 to 12 years, and the sex distribution was 52% boys with 48% girls. The study included ethnicity of the various ethnic groups in U.S. The study included 63% African Americans, 38% Caucasian, 6% East Indians and 2% other. The study population of the number of learners was 150 pupils in all the elementary schools in Mississippi.
The study used teachers with a bachelor's degree with further professional development training in creative writing. The teaching experience ranged from one and half years to 47 years. 40% of the teachers used in this study possessed more than 20 years of experience. The participating students (n =150) ranged from 9 to 12 years. The results showed that 73% of the writing samples from the schools were estimated at mastery or above master. The schools registered 27% of the learners at ‘need improvement' or ‘partial mastery'. The study administered the respondents with questionnaires with the writing templates; the study analyzed the writing samples regarding the number of sentences, the number of words and the average length of the sentence. The outcomes of the results were distinguished by three teacher-prompting methods: content specific, general and no prompting.
The researchers estimated the writing skills and existing language to evaluate the homogeneity of the variance in the sampled schools before data analysis and collection. The class teachers estimated the writing and language levels of the learners using a writing rubric that had four-point Likert scale assessment. The results of the study were interpreted and reported proportionally to the total number of written prompts in each of the schools in the state. The researcher conducted a random sampling when selecting the number of schools. Later, the study conducted a stratified sample on the number of students in the fifth grade. The selection of the learners was conducted using the probability sample. The researcher later used random sampling to select the teachers in the study before administering the interview schedule.
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My personal belief and understanding of education is that it is a unique and personal experience for everyone who joins the classroom. Despite the age difference in the students, especially in the setting of a university or college, the age difference might differ by a large margin. However, there is one common factor about everyone who joins a classroom, they have a common focus. The main reason for joining a classroom and seeking education is thirst for information. The difference in the thirst for knowledge and effort put in by the various students in the class is reflected in the results. Therefore, teachers need to understand their professional role to the students in order for the students to benefit fully from their vast knowledge. Professional educators are given the task of nurturing young minds, and the teachers must tender the young brains and facilitate their growth through learning. In this essay, the discussion is on the philosophy of education and methods I will use to accomplish my philosophy of education.
In order for professional teachers to achieve success in their career paths, there are a couple of factors that need considering. One of the important factors for a professional teacher is consider teaching as a lifestyle. Therefore, as a professional teacher, I must be ready to utilize to the fullest of the forty hours that I work every week. Therefore, the professional teacher must ensure that the students understand the content studied every week. The content studied by the students is useful in that it equips them of necessary tools that they can use for success in their life. As a professional teacher, one must also establish a mutual respect between me and the students. The establishment of a relationship between a student and a teacher creates an environment of trust and care. Therefore, the students and the teacher can successfully interact and communicate in an academic setting.
As a professional educator, one must be a source of unending inspiration and strength for the students For students to learn properly, they need to be offered with the motivation needed for learning the subject by the educator. As a professional teacher, one must possess the power to arouse the learning energy in the student. The arousal of the learning energy helps him or her understand more, and this favors the results of the student. The student also becomes more willing to learn and ask questions in case they do not understand. However, it is important for a professional educator to express confidence and demonstrate the enthusiasm in the abilities of the students. To make sure that the students understand what I teach, I will use projects, discussions, and experiments. The use of projects, discussion, and experiments enhance the understanding of the students and involve them actively in classes.
As a professional teacher, I must also adopt a mentoring role to make sure that the personal growth of the students is accomplished. The teachers or educator also need to be showered with compassion and warmth, shows the students that their teachers are empathetic and have their best interests at heart. The teacher must produce positivism, confidence, and flexibility in order to act as mentors to the personal growth of students. The students are also keen on the behaviors that their teachers possess and may end up emulating the behaviors. Therefore, a professional teacher needs to have good behaviors in order to be viewed as a role model to the students. When the students view a teacher as a role model, it means that they value what he or she teaches. All children can learn and are entitled the right to access quality education, therefore, as a professional educator; one must strive to ensure that the students receive quality education.
Learning and teaching are reciprocal processes, and as a professional educator teaches his or her students, he or she is also a thing or two. The way one handles different students differs with the age of the students. Therefore, my role as a professional educator is to ensure that my students learn and understand what I teach. To achieve this, I must consider a number of factors like putting the students in groups, experiments, and discussions. The use of groups, experiments, and discussions engages the students in the learning process, and this increases their understanding. As a profession teacher, one must also interact with the students to help identify the different skills and abilities that the students possess. The recognition of the different abilities that the students have makes it easy to create a personal growth plan for every child.
In conclusion, there might be a couple of challenges that I may face on my philosophical education journey. Some of the challenges may include having a rough relationship with the students and poor performance among the students. As a professional teacher, one must ensure that they create a good relationship between them and the students. A good relationship between the students and the teacher creates trust between the two, making it easy for learning to go on smoothly. To avoid students performing poorly, as a professional teacher, I must identify the different skills that the various students possess. The identification of the skills and abilities of the students also makes it easy to identify the weaknesses of the students and work on making the students improve on their weaknesses.
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