Research Study Finds Using PEG Writing Helps Students Write Higher Quality Essays

Dr. Corey Palermo studied over 800 middle school students to understand how PEG Writing affects student's argumentative writing performance. He found that students who used PEG Writing produced higher quality essays.



The Study

As a researcher and former teacher, I’m interested in how automated writing evaluation can be used to support students’ writing development while also supporting teachers. One question has guided my research: What impact does PEG Writing have on middle school students’ writing performance?

To answer this question, I recruited 19 middle school teachers and 800 students to participate in a study. Two thirds of these used a PEG Writing intervention that involved lessons, and writing and revising essays, using automated feedback for around two months under two different conditions.

The Findings

So what did I find? Controlling for students’ initial writing quality and the amount that they used PEG Writing, students who used PEG produced higher quality essays at the end of the intervention. Specifically, the writing quality of students who used PEG and received traditional writing instruction was almost 2.5 points or 22% higher than those who didn’t.

Further, the writing quality of students who used PEG and received writing instruction that emphasized the development of self-regulatory strategies was almost 4 points higher, or 36%. These students also wrote essays that were longer and included more basic elements of argumentative essays like claim and supporting reasons.

The Results

So what does this mean? Incorporating PEG Writing into regular writing instruction can have a significant positive impact on the quality of students’ writing. But along with PEG, students further benefit from being taught strategies for planning and writing, and learning skills such as goal-setting, self-monitoring and self-evaluating to help them manage their writing strategies and the writing task.