Date of Award

5-2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Robin E. Umber

Abstract

This study was designed to analyze the effect of the use of graphic organizers on eighth graders' writing of essays and the students' feelings about using those graphic organizers.

Eighty-eight eighth grade students from a diverse rural school district in New York participated in this study. This study occurred for a duration of 3.5 months. Two essays were used as a baseline; four essays were written in which the graphic organizers were required. For the two remaining essays, students were given the choice of using the graphic organizers or not using them.

All essays were graded according to a rubric. The grades of the essays were charted so that the teacher could see the results in a sequential manner. In addition to determining if graphic organizers improved students' essays, the chart also kept track of how many students chose to use the graphic organizers when not required to do so. Surveys and interviews were also used.

Results showed that there was very little significant progress with students who used the graphic organizers. Fourteen percent of students improved their essay writing while using graphic organizers; eighty-six percent of students did not show any progress; nine students did not complete the graphic organizers even when required to do so. Because of this, those nine students were not included in these particular results.

Out of the six selected students, only one student seemed to improve his essay writing when using the graphic organizers. The scores of the other five students either remained fairly constant or were too inconsistent (scores varied too much) to determine if graphic organizers played a significant role.

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