Essay Quality of Adolescents with Learning Disabilities: Does the Medium Improve the Message?




Jalbert, Rachel

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Differences between handwritten and typed essays were examined in high school adolescents with a learning disability (LD) who have writing difficulties. Despite being experienced at writing on the computer and possessing fluent typing skills, there were no differences found between the quality of handwritten and typed essays. Essays were scored against quality indices for lower-level transcription (i.e., mechanics), higher-level text generation (i.e., organization, theme development, vocabulary), spelling accuracy, word count, and grammar. No differences were found across any of these dimensions between conditions. Correlations were also examined to determine any similarities, or differences in relationship among the measures, between the handwritten and typed conditions. Similar associations were found across both conditions for total essay score, lower-level transcription, and handwriting/typing fluency. However, higher-level text generation for typed essays correlated with the measures of working memory, lexical access, and spelling, whereas none of these measures correlated with the higher-level text generation for handwritten essays.



Essay Quality, Adolescents, Learning Disabilities, Handwriting, Typing, Writing, High School Students