Effects of using typed versus handwritten drafts for student peer editing

This qualitative action research study investigated the effects of using typed versus handwritten rough drafts on the editing skills of 5th grade students. The research attempted to answer questions about whether text format allowed students to be better editors, the type of errors students focused on when editing, and whether the text format influenced what students looked for when editing. The literature review looked at studies involving (a) peer editing, (b) word processed or computer-assisted revisions, and (c) the use of rubrics to assess student writing. Three pieces of data were collected from twenty students over a three week period: (a) four peer-edited, rough drafts of narrative writing from each student (b) two written responses completed by each student reflecting on the editing process and how it may have differed when editing a typed versus a handwritten rough draft, (c) teacher observations, reflections and field notes from two whole class discussions about student experiences while editing rough drafts of narrative writing. The research findings indicate some improvement, although not large, of peer editing skills when typed drafts were used versus handwritten drafts. In both the student reflections and classroom discussions students reported an ease of finding and correcting errors on typed rough drafts, but this perception of improved editing ability was only minimally reflected in the data. This study indicates a need for further research of effective pedagogy to improve the editing skills of elementary students. KEYWORDS: compositions, editing, education, elementary, revising, writing