The Writing Strategies of Post-Secondary Students with Writing Difficulties

Gina L. Harrison, Deborah Beres

Abstract


Writing samples were examined from 42 post-secondary students with or without writing difficulties. Guided by the Simple View of Writing (Berninger et al., 2002), the samples were examined for evidence of difficulties with lower-order transcription processes and higher-order composition skills. Retrospective reports on writing strategies were also obtained. The students with writing difficulties achieved significantly lower scores across both dimensions of writing than the students without difficulties. For those with writing difficulties, strategy reports indicated an awareness of difficulties with lower-order (e.g., spelling) writing skills and an over-emphasis on these skills during the writing process, compared to the students without writing difficulties. Results are discussed in relation to the cognitive and linguistic aspects involved in skilled writing in adulthood, and the implications for accommodations and interventions for students struggling with writing at the post-secondary level.

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