Title

Examining the Writing Achievement & Self-Efficacy of Elementary Students At Risk

First Presenter's Institution

University of South Carolina Aiken

Second Presenter's Institution

University of Tennessee

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Session 1 (Percival)

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This proposal is related to the Head and Heart strands. The writing achievement and self-efficacy of elementary-aged students attending high-poverty schools was examined. Writing achievement is an element of academic performance (“head” strand) while self-efficacy, as a type of social-emotional learning, relates to the “heart” strand.

Brief Program Description

Participants will gain familiarity with two major types of writing achievement and how they relate to writing skills and narrative writing self-efficacy for upper elementary students (N = 61) who attended Title 1 schools and the majority of whom qualified for free/reduced lunch. Presenters and participants will discuss implications for researchers and educators. Target audience includes researchers and practicing teachers.

Summary

Writing achievement of students across the United States is dismal. In fact, only 28% of fourth graders scored “proficient” or “advanced” on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) writing assessment (U.S. Department of Education, 2003). This problem does not seem to be getting any better as only 27% of eighth graders scored “proficient” or higher in 2011 (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2012). The statistics are even more dismal for students in poor neighborhoods with limited educational access. The average score for fourth graders not eligible for the National School Lunch Plan (NSLP) was 163, while those eligible scored an average of 141 (U.S. Department of Education, 2003).

Presenters will outline the results of a study conducted in the Southeastern United States. Participants (N= 61) included elementary-aged students who were enrolled at a Boys and Girls Club. All participants attended Title 1 Schools and almost three-quarters qualified for free/reduced lunch status.

The purpose of this study was to analyze potential relationships between/among the writing achievement and self-efficacy of upper elementary (grades 3-5) students deemed at risk. Participants completed three assessments. First, students completed the Writing Skills Self-Efficacy Scale (SES; Pajares, Hartley, & Valiante, 2001) to measure self-efficacy related to writing skills (e.g., grammar, punctuation, capitalization). Next, participants completed a researcher-developed Narrative Self-Efficacy Scale (NES) to measure self-efficacy related to story-writing based on prompts. Finally, students completed the Test of Written Language -IV (TOWL-4; Hammill & Larson, 2009) to assess writing achievement.

Results of the relationships among the SES, NES, and the TOWL-4 will be shared. Because writing is often viewed as aversive to students (Boscolo & Gelati, 2013), teachers may need to consider motivational factors when planning instruction. This likely should include student self-efficacy related to writing. Additionally, writing is a complex task that requires students to complete several steps simultaneously (Torrance & Galbraith, 2006). Therefore, strategies may need to be implemented to help provide a process approach to writing so students can better understand the importance as well as how to write effectively. Practical implications for classroom general and special education teachers will be explored.

Evidence

A correlational design was implemented to examine the relationships between/among the writing achievement and self-efficacy of at-risk elementary-aged students. Researchers administered three assessments to measure these constructs. The Writing Skills Self-Efficacy Scale (SES; Pajares, Hartley, & Valiante, 2001) was administered to all participants and consisted of 10 questions related to writing skills. The SES has a coefficient alpha of .88 for students in fifth grade, and a coefficient alpha of .85 for students in third, fourth, and fifth grade (Pajares, 2007). The SES asks students to write a number between zero and 100 to indicate how sure they are they could complete each statement or task related to writing. The Narrative Writing Self-Efficacy Scale (NES) was researcher-developed and consisted of 12 items related to writing a story based on a picture prompt. The format was similar to the SES and asked students to write a number between 0 and 100 to indicate how sure they are they could complete the task. The Test of Written Language-IV (TOWL-4; Hammill & Larsen, 2009) is a norm-referenced assessment that consists of several subtests. The coefficient alpha ranged from .71 to .97, while the correlation coefficients ranged from .55 to .99 for this assessment. Thus, this commonly-used assessment is often deemed reliable and valid. The TOWL-4 measures writing ability using both contrived and spontaneous formats and consists of the following subtests: vocabulary, punctuation, spelling, logical sentences, sentence combining, contextual conventions, and story composition.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Melissa Martin is an Assistant Professor in Special Education at the University of South Carolina Aiken. Previously, she was a K-5 special education teacher. Her research interests include writing instruction for students with disabilities, mental health education, social emotional learning, and pre-service teacher self-efficacy.

Dr. Sherry Mee Bell is a professor and department head of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education. A former special education teacher and school psychologist, her research interests include instruction and assessment of struggling readers, attributional style, and teacher preparation.

Keyword Descriptors

writing achievement, writing motivation, at risk, elementary students

Presentation Year

2020

Start Date

3-9-2020 10:30 AM

End Date

3-9-2020 11:45 AM

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Mar 9th, 10:30 AM Mar 9th, 11:45 AM

Examining the Writing Achievement & Self-Efficacy of Elementary Students At Risk

Session 1 (Percival)

Participants will gain familiarity with two major types of writing achievement and how they relate to writing skills and narrative writing self-efficacy for upper elementary students (N = 61) who attended Title 1 schools and the majority of whom qualified for free/reduced lunch. Presenters and participants will discuss implications for researchers and educators. Target audience includes researchers and practicing teachers.