Note: The sample abstract appears below. Note that the title, author, type of presentation (discussion, display, symposium, etc.) is entered separately from the abstract.

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     The study examined elementary students' writing development longitudinally to find out: (a) the levels of writing proficiency attained by students during each school year, (b) the writing characteristics associated with different levels of proficiency, and (c) the factors and conditions that may influence writing quality.

     Of the 23 students composing the initial sample, eight participated in the study for its duration, from third- through seventh grades.  Reduction in the sample size occurred because nine students moved from the school district and six students chose not to continue in the study after their third or fourth year of participation.  Of the eight students (four females, four males) participating in the study for the five-year period, four were African-American and four were Caucasian.

     The researcher met with the students, individually, once a week to collect writings.  Each meeting followed a similar format: (a) the student read aloud each of his/her writings while the researcher listened and made notes about the writing; and (b) the researcher asked questions about each writing, such as: Why was it written?  Did the student enjoy writing it?  Was the writing a first draft or a finished product?  The amount of time spent weekly with each student varied, depending upon how many writings the student had to share and how much discussion was evoked by the writings.  Each piece of writing was dated, photocopied, and the original returned to the student.  Planned interviews were conducted, periodically, with the students, their parents/guardians, and their teachers.

     Each piece of writing was analyzed holistically and analytically.  Matrices displaying data obtained from all sources were developed and used to identify patterns emerging from the data.  Tentative conclusions were drawn and attempts to verify conclusions included reexamination of relevant data sources.  The findings of the study suggest implications for classroom practice and teacher educators.


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