PhD in Education student Karen Taylor presented her research and served as a member of the literacy and reading development panel at the recent Student Research Conference at Harvard University. Ms Taylor's presentation, which was titled "Argumentative Reasoning in Second and Third Grade Students' Persuasive Writing", was co-authored with Dr. Sarah Ingebrand and Professor Carol M. Connor.
This study identifies argumentative reasoning moves used in students’ persuasive essays, and further investigates whether demographic characteristics, grade level, or reading comprehension are related to sophistication of argumentation, controlling for essay length. Essays written by socioeconomically and linguistically diverse second and third grade students (N=385) in Arizona were analyzed. Essays were coded for local (T-unit-level) argument types based on Kuhn & Crowell’s (2011) coding scheme. Regression analyses clustered at the classroom level revealed that beyond the contribution of essay length, reading comprehension and grade level (i.e., third grade) significantly predicted the frequency of students’ usage of complex reasoning in their essays. As the Common Core State Standards feature argumentative writing, findings shed light on children’s independent argumentative reasoning usage in their writing.
Ms. Taylor is a fourth year doctoral student specializing in Language, Literacy, and Technology (LLT). Her research interests include reading development, academic writing, adolescent literacy, professional development for educators, and teacher education. She is advised by Chancellor's Professor Carol Connor.