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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The development and validation of procedures to assess writing plans Chai, Constance Oi Lin

Abstract

If writing matters, how can we improve it? Building on previous work that found engaging in prewriting activities and prewriting strategies as essential elements to the writing process, this study investigated the nature of writing plan quality and its relationship to the ensuing writing scores. Data were drawn from the 1998 Provincial Learning Assessment Programme (PLAP) in Writing, which was administered to pupils in Grades 4, 7, and 10 across British Columbia. Types of prewriting strategies pupils applied were categorised. In addition, common features of writing quality were qualitatively identified in a sub-sample of writing plans across the three grade levels. An analytic scoring scheme was developed based on identified features of writing quality in writing plans, evaluative terms commonly used as criteria to measure writing performance in both large-scale and classroom assessments, and, theory and research in writing. The scheme was used to assess 1,797 writing plans. Correlation and regression analyses were used to determine relationships between quality of writing plans and writing scores. c Results indicate that (a) essays with accompanying writing plans were awarded higher writing scores than essays without writing plans, (b) evidence of elaborate features of writing quality in writing plans was associated with higher writing scores, (c) two thirds of content in writing plans was incorporated into corresponding essays, and, (d) even though female pupils outperformed male pupils in achieving higher writing scores and generating writing plans at each grade level, both male and female pupils tended to focus on similar strategies and features of writing quality when preparing a writing plan. Identification of features of writing plan quality provides valuable instructional information and insights into how children develop their ideas for writing. The findings have important implications for assessing writers' planning quality, and ultimately, the quality of writing.

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