Date of Award

Fall 1993

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Gerald Bejy

Second Advisor

Not legible

Third Advisor

Patricia E. Baker


Writing is a frustrating and demoralizing exercise for those who do not have the necessary skills. In the case of emotionally disturbed students, this frustration is further complicated by their pathology. To address writing issues, the use of personal computers might offer significant help. This study seeks to determine whether the use of a word processing program on a personal computer rather than writing by hand significantly increases the quality and quantity of writing produced by emotionally disturbed students. Twenty-four students between the ages of 13 and 18 who had been labelled emotionally disturbed and educationally disadvantaged were selected as subjects. Subjects were asked to choose two essay topics and then compose one essay each on computer and by hand. The researcher then examined both samples to determine differences in length of work and elaboration of language using guidelines from the Test of Written Language (TOWL) ages 7-18. A t-test of the differences between two independent means was utilized. The results of the study indicated that there was no statistically significant difference in the length of the writing or in the percentage of words with seven or more letters used between handwriting and word processing. The author recommends a redesigned study which gives students a greater period of time for writing as well as between essays.