Beyond spelling: the writing skills of students with dyslexia in higher education
- 1.6k Downloads
To have a clearer idea of the problems students with dyslexia may face during their studies, we compared writings of 100 students with dyslexia and 100 age matched control students in higher education. The aim of this study was to compare the writing of young adults with dyslexia and young adults without dyslexia. The study was carried out in Belgium with writers of Dutch. First, we studied the number and type of spelling errors, the quality of the texts produced, the use of words, and the handwriting, both in a précis writing task (writing a summary of an informative text) and in a dictation task (sentence writing). Our results showed medium to large effect sizes for spelling errors: d = 0.93 for morphosyntactic spelling errors, d = 0.55 for memory-related spelling errors, and a medium effect size for punctuation and capitalization errors, d = 0.40. Second, experts who were blind to the aims of the study were asked to judge the quality of the writing of both groups based on transcriptions that were free from spelling errors. The quality of the texts produced was judged lower for students with dyslexia than for the controls, d = 0.61 for text structure and d = 0.56 for agreeability, even though the number and types of words used by both groups were very much the same. There was no significant difference in the quality of the handwriting, d = 0.15. Given that remedial teaching has been shown to be effective for essay-writing skills, educational support along these lines may be helpful for students with dyslexia.
KeywordsAdult dyslexia Dictation Précis writing Spelling Writing
This study was made possible by an Odysseus Grant awarded by the Government of Flanders to MB. The authors thank Valérie Van Hees and Charlotte De Lange from Cursief for their help in the study and the recruitment of participants. They also thank Joke Lauwers for her assistance in testing the participants, and Annemie Desoete and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions.
- Brus, B. T., & Voeten, M. M. (1999). Eén-Minuut Test (EMT) [One Minute Test]. Lisse, The Netherlands: Swets.Google Scholar
- Callens, M., Tops, W., & Brysbaert, M. (in press). Cognitive profile of higher education students with an indication of dyslexia. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038081
- Castelijns, J., Hamers, J., & De Koning, E. (1994). Verkort Utrechts Classificatiesyteem voor Spelfouten (V-UCS): Verantwoording en Handleiding [Shortened Utrecht classification system for spelling errors: Manual and validation]. Lisse, The Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
- Defrancq, B., & Van Laecke, G. (2009). Leesbaar schrijven [Clear writing]. Antwerpen, Belgium: Garant.Google Scholar
- Depessemier, P., & Andries, C. (2009). Gletschr, Dyslexie bij +16- jarigen [Gletschr, dyslexia in young adults]. Antwerp, Belgium: Garant.Google Scholar
- Desoete, A., Brysbaert, M., Tops, W., Callens, M., De Lange, C., & Van Hees, V. (2010). Studeren met Dyslexie [Dyslexia in higher education]. Ghent, Belgium: Department of Diversity and Gender Ghent University.Google Scholar
- Farmer, M., Riddick, B., & Sterling, C. (2002). Dyslexia and inclusion, assessment and support in higher education. Philadelphia, PA: Whurr Publishers.Google Scholar
- Ghesquière, P. (1998). Algemene toets gevorderde spelling van het Nederlands (AT-GSN). Verantwoording en handleiding. Rapport van een specialisatiejaar: Onderzoek AT- GSN-dictee. [General Assessment of Advanced Dutch Spelling. Manual and validation. Research report of a specialised course]. Leuven, Belgium: Catholic University of Leuven.Google Scholar
- Goldberg, A., Russell, M., & Cook, A. (2003). The effect of computers on student writing: A meta-analysis of studies from 1992 to 2002. Journal of Technology, Learning, and Assessment, 2. 4–51. Available at: https://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ jtla/article/viewFile/1661/1503.
- Hayes, J. R., & Flower, L. S. (1980). Identifying the organisation of writing processes. In L. W. Gregg & E. R. Sternberg (Eds.), Cognitive processes in writing (pp. 3–30). Hillsdale, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
- Kleijnen, R. (1992). Hardnekkige spellingfouten: Een taalkundige analyse [Persevering spelling errors: A linguistic analysis]. Lisse, The Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger.Google Scholar
- Kleijnen, R., Bosman, A., De Jong, P., Henneman, K., Pasman, J., Paternotte, A. Ruijssenaars, A., et al. (2008). Diagnose en behandeling van dyslexie. Brochure van de Stichting Dyslexie Nederland. Geheel herziene versie [Diagnosis and treatment of dyslexia. Brochure of the Dutch Dyslexia Foundation. Revision]. Bilthoven, The Netherlands: Stichting Dyslexie Nederland.Google Scholar
- van den Bos, K., Spelberg, H., Scheepstra, A., & de Vries, J. (1994). De Klepel. Een test voor de leesvaardigheid van pseudowoorden: Vorm A en B [The Klepel. A reading test for pseudowords: Version A and B]. Nijmegen, The Netherlands: Berkhout.Google Scholar