Longitudinal relationships of cognitive-linguistic skills and Chinese written composition in Grades 1 to 6

Longitudinal relationships of cognitive-linguistic skills and Chinese written composition in Grades 1 to 6

First Author: Kevin Shing-Chi Chan -- The University of Hong Kong
Additional authors/chairs: 
P-S Yeung
Keywords: Writing, Chinese, Spelling, Syntax
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose
This study aims to analyze the longitudinal predictors of individual differences in Chinese writing performance among students in the elementary grades, and to determine whether the strength of these predictors changes over the course of development. This paper reports the findings from a one-year longitudinal study tracking the developmental patterns of Chinese writing among students in Grades 1, 3, and 5 in Hong Kong.
Method
A total of 288 children in Grades 1, 3 and 5 were tested at the end of the academic year and retested at the end of the next academic year when they were in Grade 2, Grade 4, and Grade 6, respectively. They were administered tasks involving cognitive-linguistic skills (working memory, word spelling, oral expressive skills, and syntactic skills) and writing skills (narrative writing and expository writing).
Results
Multiple regression analysis reveals that word spelling was the only significant longitudinal predictor of Chinese written composition performance in Grade 2, oral expressive and syntactic skills were significant longitudinal predictors of Chinese written composition performance in Grade 4, and syntactic skills were the only significant longitudinal predictor of Chinese written composition performance in Grade 6, after controlling for the contribution from other variables and the written composition performance in the preceding year.
Conclusions
The patterns of results for the concurrent and longitudinal relationships between cognitive-linguistic skills and Chinese written composition are compatible with a developmental model of writing based on the “simple view of writing” (Berninger et al., 2002b).