The effects of cross-age peer tutoring on writing and reading comprehension skills and attitudes and self- perceptions as writers of third and fourth grade students

Artis McChesney Gray, Florida International University

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of cross-age peer writing response groups on the writing and reading achievement of third and fourth grade students. Students' attitudes about writing and their perceptions of themselves as writers were also measured at the end of the study.

One hundred and twenty-two third arid fourth grade students enrolled in a public school in a middle-class, mulit-cultural neighborhood participated in the study. Four existing classes of students were randomly assigned to either the experimental condition (EC) or the control condition (CC). Both groups were pretested and posttested vii for writing and reading achievement. The intervention, cross-age peer writing groups, met for eleven weeks.

Three hypotheses were examined in this study: (a) writing improvement score, (b) reading comprehension improvement score, and (c) students' attitudes toward writing and their perception of themselves as writers based on the five scales measured on the Writer Self-Perception Scale.

ANOVAs were done on the pretests and posttests for writing and the Stanford Achievement Test reading comprehension subtest scores for the year of the study and the previous year. ANOVAs were also done for the five areas of the Writer Self-Perception Scale. Cross- tabulations were also used to compare improvement level verses treatment group, and grade level.

Analysis of the data revealed that there was no evidence that the tutoring (EC) groups made more progress than the non-tutoring (CC) groups in writing and reading. There was evidence of growth in writing, especially by the fourth graders. Most importantly, the fourth grade tutors, the experimental group, had the most positive feelings about writing and themselves as writers.


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