The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of computer-based concept mapping as a prewriting strategy on persuasive essay writing performance. A quasi-experimental design was implemented at a middle school in southeastern Idaho. Three hundred nineteen eighth-grade language art students were assigned as intact groups under two conditions: non-computer-based (control) and computer-based concept mapping (experimental). A preassessment on writing was administered before treatment. Instruction was focused on the use of concept mapping as a prewriting strategy for persuasive writing. Students were provided a persuasive map format, which was designed as a scaffold to guide students in creating their concept maps for persuasive writing tasks. Students in the control group created their concept maps by paper and pencil, while the students in the experimental group generated their concept maps using computer-based concept mapping software. Two measures were used in the data collection. Holistic pre- and post-assessment essay scores and concept map scores for both groups (control and experimental) were collected and analyzed using a two (non-computer-based and computer-based concept mapping methods) by two (teachers) by seven (classes) factorial-nested design. The primary finding is that computer-based concept mapping is beneficial for generating ideas. Nevertheless, the quantity of ideas in concept maps was not significant in affecting students' writing. The quality of concept map content, however, was related to students' writing performance. The effect of concept mapping ability on persuasive writing performance revealed a mixed result. An additional finding is that time is negatively related to students' writing when using computer-based concept mapping. There was no gender difference in concept maps, nor was there in persuasive writing under both conditions.Two measures were used in the data collection.
|Title||:||The Effects of Computer-based Concept Mapping as a Prewriting Strategy on the Persuasive Writing of Eighth Graders at a Middle School in Southeastern Idaho|