The effects of the semantic organizer of writing ability and motivation with fourth-grade students

Date of Completion

January 1989


Education, Elementary|Education, Reading|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the semantic organizer as a prewriting strategy with fourth grade students. Two homogeneously grouped fourth grade classes were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups. Both groups were given a pretest to determine differences in their writing ability. Students participated in two writing sessions per week for five consecutive weeks which were conducted by the investigator. One group used a semantic organizer prior to writing while the other group listed ideas as they were presented prior to writing. Except for this difference in prewriting strategy, both groups received the same instruction. A posttest was administered at the conclusion of the study following the same procedure as the pretest.^ Student papers from the pretest, sessions one, five, ten, and the posttest were evaluated holistically for content, organization, and purpose by three trained raters. The average number of words and communication units used by each group per session were also evaluated. Separate analysis of variance tables were used to report the findings for the dependent variables: content, organization, purpose, number of words, and number of communication units. Main effects and interactions for the independent variables of prewriting strategy and time were measured in relation to each of the five dependent variables.^ A mixed design analysis of variance was tested at the.05 level of significance. Post hoc tests were used where significant mean differences occurred.^ The students in the semantic organizer group included significantly more content, achieved a higher level of organization, and expressed a clearer sense of purpose in their compositions. They also used significantly more works in their writings. However, when teacher supervision of the semantic organizer strategy ceased, no significant between group differences were noted during posttesting. The results indicated that teacher guidance was a critical factor when using the semantic organizer as a prewriting strategy at the fourth grade level.^ A writing attitude survey was administered to both groups at the beginning and end of the investigation. Statistical analyses showed no significant differences between the prewriting strategy used and student attitude toward writing. ^