CEC Theses and Dissertations


The Effects of Computerized Tools In Teaching English Composition For Basic Writers

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Computer Education


Center for Computer and Information Sciences


John Kingsburry

Committee Member

Gerorge K. Fornshell

Committee Member

Marlyn Kemper Littman


This experimental project studied the effects of computerized revision tools--word processing, grammar checkers, and spell checkers--on the writing of 32 college freshmen in remedial English composition. The students were divided into two groups. Each group received 13 weeks of instruction, meeting five days per week. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, they met as a group to receive traditional composition and grammar instruction. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they met for in-class revision and writing practice. The experimental group used computers to perform all revisions while the control group revised using paper and pen. Analysis of the scores from two final compositions graded holistically determined that the experimental group performed significantly better in surface aspects of writing and revising, including style and appropriateness, and grammar and punctuation. However, in subsurface areas of writing and revising, including organization and presentation, audience awareness, and style and appropriateness, the experimental group did not perform significantly better than the control group.

Analysis of the data from pre- and posttest scores on the written English Expression Placement Test revealed that the experimental group made no greater gains in formal rule acquisition. The use of computers during the revising process did not prove beneficial to rule acquisition; and therefore, some doubt exists as to whether the new revising processes could be transferable to revising when computers are not available.

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