Writing argumentative texts based on sources: A study into the cognitive and motivational correlates of 10th graders’ writing performance

Writing argumentative texts based on sources: A study into the cognitive and motivational correlates of 10th graders’ writing performance

First Author: Fien De Smedt -- Ghent University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Yana Landrieu; Bram De Wever; Hilde Van Keer
Keywords: Argument Writing, cognitive processes, Writing motivation, Writing performance, Self-Efficacy
Abstract / Summary: 

More than ever, effective writing and proficient argumentation are imperative for full participation in our 21st century society (Graham et al., 2013). Prior international findings, however, call attention to the fact that secondary school students’ writing, and argumentative writing in particular, is inadequately developed (National Center for Education Statistics, 2012). Therefore, the main aim of the present study is to gain in-depth insight in 10th-grade students’ argumentative writing by examining and depicting the cognitive and motivational challenges they face when writing argumentative texts. In total, 399 tenth-grade students completed an argumentative writing test, based on two digital source texts, and online student questionnaires. Overall text quality was rated by two independent, trained raters using the holistic benchmark rating procedure (Tillema et al., 2012). The questionnaires measured students’ self-efficacy for writing using source texts (Self-Efficacy in Synthesis Writing; Vandermeulen et al., 2019), writing motivation (SRQ-Writing Motivation; De Smedt et al., 2018), and cognitive writing processes (Writing Style Questionnaire; Vandermeulen et al., 2019). Additionally, a writing copy task (Van Waes et al., 2019) and a retrospective interview was conducted with a subsample of students (n = 35). Finally, students in the subsample wrote their texts on laptops on which keystroke logging software Inputlog was installed (Leijten & Van Waes, 2013). Inputlog registers mouse movements, keystrokes, and window switches. [In our presentation], we will report on the application of data triangulation to analyse cognitive and motivational writing activities and processes and relate these to students’ overall argumentative writing performance. Implications for teaching practice and for further research optimizing writing instruction will be discussed.