Priority-Area Consensus Conferencing: Peer Versus One-to-One, a Study of an Efficient Method for Achieving Significant Improvements in Freshman Writing Apprehension and Writing Skill
Loken, Robert Hugh
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The problem. For economic reasons, some college administrators are overburdening composition instructors with teaching loads beyond those recommended by NCTE and ADE. In response, this study measures the effectiveness of two methods of teaching composition (peer conferencing and one-to-one conferencing), hypothesizing that peer review will be as effective as teacher review for students and more efficient for the instructor who assigns longer writing tasks than Roger Garrison and Kenneth Bruffee generally recommend. Procedure. Attempts were made to match fifty control (teacher review) and fifty experimental (peer review) students by sex, age, career interests, English ACT scores, English GPA scores, composite ACT scores, and composite GPA scores. The same strategies were used to arrive at the same consensus conferencing strategies in both groups. The effectiveness of these strategies was determined by pre- and post-test essays, using Miles Myer's recommendations for preparation and scoring, and also by Daly-Miller apprehension pre- and post-test scoring. Findings. Pre- and post-test writing and apprehension means were approximately the same for either group. Overall writing score increases were significant at p<.05. Overall apprehension decreases were significant at p<.Ol. Females on the average had higher writing scores (p<.Ol) than males, but males showed a significantly greater decrease in apprehension (p<.Ol) than females. Teacher review consumed about 150 more hours of the instructor's time than peer review. Conclusion. Composition teachers overburdened by teaching loads beyond those recommended by NCTE and ADE can feel confident about peer conferencing. It appears to be as effective as one-to-one for students and more efficient for the instructor. Recommendation. A research team might discover significant conferencing strategies by matching students at various apprehension levels with students at various writing levels, comparing their conferencing protocols (transcribed from audiovisuals) with "thinking-aloud protocols," and by using many of the pre- and post-testing procedures of the present study.
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