Computers and academic writing
: a study of the impact of style and grammar checkers on the expository writing performance of students in the first year of the Diploma of Teaching program

  • Owen Thomas Sambell Burgan

    Student thesis: Coursework Masters - CDU

    Abstract

    Although there is a volume of anecdotal and research reports which support the generally perceived value of the use of wordprocessors as an aid to enhancing students' writing performance, very few relate to students in Faculties of Education. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the use of style and grammar checkers on the expository writing performance of students in the First Year Teaching Training Program in the Faculty of Education at the Northern Territory University. 

    Over 30 per cent of the students in the intake in 1992, were identified as not performing at such a level as to have a reasonable expectation of coping with the demands of expository writing at the tertiary level. The null hypothesis was that students with below-average written performance in this genre, as assessed by analytic assessment by experienced markers, would show no significant improvement in their written performance if they used a style and grammar checker as they wordprocessed their work. 

    At the end of the study it was found that the written performance of four of the eight subjects identified had improved sufficiently for them to have a reasonable expectation of being able to cope with the demands of expository writing at this level. Because of the small numbers involved (N=25) and the shortness of the intervention period (ten weeks), findings from this study could not be generalised to apply to the writing performance of students in the various genres that academic writing involves. There is sufficient evidence, however, from this study and others cited, to conclude that style and grammar checkers have a significant and vital role in helping students, particularly those with specific problems, improve their performance in expository writing.
    Date of AwardSep 1994
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBrian Devlin (Supervisor)

    Cite this

    '