Proficiency scales for early writing development
Keywords:writing development, writing proficiency, primary school, student text, proficiency scales
Despite the growing prominence of writing in both educational contexts and society at large, research-based knowledge about the development of writing remains lacking, particularly regarding the developmental trajectories that students pass through as they encounter and grapple with the complex system of more formal writing during their primary years of school. This article presents a study that examined writing development in Danish primary grade students (ages 6 to 8) from a linguistic perspective to identify developmental patterns in students’ writing skills during these years. In the study, we applied a multidimensional analytical framework based on a text-oriented model of writing, for the coding of a large number of digitalised student texts (N=803). Subsequently, we analysed the coding results using statistical Rasch theory. Through this procedure, we were able to identify developmental patterns in the students’ writing in the form of different proficiency groups along four textual dimensions and to describe a number of linguistic levels for each dimension. Furthermore, the article discusses didactic potentials and limits from using proficiency groups when teaching writing in primary grades.
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