Text procedures in argumentative performances by 4th grade students

Submitted by: Michael Krelle
Abstract: Numerous models illustrating writing skills make use of the concepts of writing processes and text products. For L1 didactics in German, Helmuth Feilke (2012) introduces the theory of “procedures”, an intermediate level located between the writing process and the finished text, similar to what other authors called e.g. patterns or frame-markers (Smith, 2003; Hempel & Degand, 2008). Feilke makes a distinction between writing procedures and text procedures ("Literale Prozeduren"; Feilke, 2012). Writing procedures refer to the writing process as a whole (e.g. planning, penning a text and revising). We will concentrate on text procedures, which focus on different levels of text organization, including lexical elements like collocations, syntactical patterns and textual phenomena. (Feilke, 2012, p. 7-11, 17-18)

For their correct use, students need discourse knowledge, which includes for example intra- and intersentential marking devices, genre structures and constraints (Weigle, 2007, p. 30). Text procedures have a salient form and serve recurring communicative purposes in writing. They are functional units that are represented in the formal aspects of language (”first… second”, “on one hand… on the other hand” etc.).

In our presentation, we will evaluate the relevance of these procedures for argumentative writing competencies in 4th grade. We will focus on the following questions: (1) How often do students use text procedures? (2) Are text procedures a key indicator for argumentative writing competencies at 4th grade level? To answer these questions, we will analyze student performances on two items used in the national assessment BIST-Ü in Austria in 2015. From this large-scale assessment, a sample of 1000 student performances per item was drawn. These 2000 texts will be rerated according to the model of Feilke (2012). We will compare the results to the original ratings from the 2015 assessment regarding text quality.

The model of text procedures is currently used in teacher training programs. Thus, our aim is to review the significance of these procedures to determine writing competencies. Additionally, we hope to draw conclusions for teacher training.

Feilke, H. (2012). Was sind Textroutinen? Zur Theorie und Methodik des Forschungsfeldes. In H. Feilke & K. Lehnen (Eds.), Schreib-und Textroutinen. Theorie, Erwerb und didaktisch-mediale Modellierung. (pp. 1-31). Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang.
Hempel, S. & Degand, L. (2008). Sequencers in different text genres: Academic writing, journalese and fiction. Journal of Pragmatics 40/4, 676-693.
Smith, C. S. (2003). Modes of Discourse. The Local Structure of Texts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Weigle, S. C. (2007). Assessing writing (Vol. 4). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.