Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Educational Leadership with a Global Perspective

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Richard Cohen

Second Advisor

Cheryl Serrano

Third Advisor

Carole Warshaw

Abstract

The writing test scores of linguistically and culturally diverse students in Southeast Florida have been consistently lower than those of mainstream students. This quantitative, experimental study investigated the effects of the Power Writing (Hamilton, 1997) strategy on the writing test scores of fourth-grade Hispanic and Haitian ESOL students. Four null hypotheses were tested: (a) There is no significant difference between the pretest and posttest scores of the experimental group. (b) There is no significant difference between the posttest scores of the experimental and control groups. (c) There is no significant difference between the scores of the Hispanic and Haitian students. (d) There is no significant difference in how the evaluators scored the tests. The sample was comprised of 48 demographically matched students from two county schools, with 12 Hispanic and 12 Haitian students in each group.

The 8-week intervention of instruction in Power Writing was administered to the experimental group only, in three 50-minute sessions per week as part of the regular curriculum. The control group received only the regular curriculum.

Data analyses were performed with the Wilcoxin Signed Rank tests and Mann-Whitney Wilcoxin Test. Results showed that the experimental group posttest were significantly higher than the pretests (Hypothesis 1). Results further showed a statistically significant difference in the posttest scores of the two groups, with the experimental group's median scores a full point higher (Hypothesis 2). Results additionally showed no significant difference between the writing test scores of the Hispanic and Haitian students, indicating that Power Writing, the independent variable, affected the scores (Hypothesis 3). Finally, results showed that three of the four evaluators' scores were consistent at the 95% confidence level. Only the experimental posttests showed a significant difference (Hypothesis 4).

Thus, this study showed that the Power Writing teaching strategy had a significant impact on the writing test scores of fourth-grade Hispanic and Haitian ESOL students. It was concluded that this strategy is an effective instructional practice for improving the writing skills and test scores of the iii Hispanic and Haitian ESOL elementary population. Based on these findings, recommendations for practice and further research were suggested.

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