Writing strategies and textual quality: How do they relate in upper primary education students?

Abstract: Background. Traditional writing models have shown that writing is a cognitively demanding activity in which writers should manage different complex writing processes. Writers should plan what to say, translate it into a written text and revise both the already created text and their plans (Hayes, 2012). Two writing strategies can be identified according to these processes named as planning and revising.
Aims. In this study we explored students’ planning and revising writing strategies of upper-primary students by means of two complementary measures. First, a self-report of the students’ strategy preference or specific planning and revising tasks. Thus the present study aimed to determine the students’ writing profile, and to analyze whether writing strategies predict writing performance.
Sample. The sample comprised 826 Spanish students from 4th to 6th grades (aged 9-13) distributed in eleven elementary schools in León (Spain): 270 fourth-graders (126 girls and 144 boys), 273 fifth-graders (144 girls and 129 boys) and 283 sixth-graders (154 girls and 129 boys).
Method. Students completed a Spanish adaptation of the writing strategies questionnaire validated in previous studies (Kieft, Rijlaarsdam, & Van den Bergh, 2008). Additionally, they were asked to write a story with a mandatory pre-planning phase. Text quality was scored using a method based on anchor texts (see Van den Bergh & Rijlaarsdam, 1986). Planning skills were assessed using a scale ranging between 1 (no preplanning) to 6 (high planning) which was adapted from Limpo, Alves and Fidalgo (2014). A specific revision task of a story was implemented in order to assess students’ detection and correction skills.
Results. Preliminary results about the structure of the questionnaire allowed us to identify a four-factor model: i) students’ revision changes, ii) students’ monitoring, iii) students’ pre-planning, and iv) prior knowledge. We will also analyse the contribution of high-level cognitive writing processes and students’ strategy preference to writing quality. We will present definitive findings in the conference.
Note: This work has been supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through a project awarded to the author Raquel Fidalgo (EDU2015-67484-P).

Hayes, J. R. (2012). Modeling and remodeling writing. Written Communication, 29 (3), 369-388.

Kieft, M., Rijlaarsdam, G. y van den Bergh, H. (2008). An aptitude-treatment interaction approach to writing-to-lear. Learning and Instruction, 18, 379-390.

Limpo, T., Alves, R. A., & Fidalgo, R. (2014). Children’s high-level writing skills: development of planning and revising and their contribution to writing quality. British Journal of Education Psychology, 84, 177-193.

Van den Bergh, H., & Rijlaarsdam, G. (1986). Problemen met opstelbeoordeling? Een recept. [Problems with drafting assessment? A recipe]. Levende Talen, 413, 448-454.