Improving First-Year Writing Using Argument Diagramming

Abstract

There is substantial evidence from many domains that visual representations aid various forms of cognition. We aimed to determine whether learning to construct visual representations of argument structure enhanced the acquisition and development of argumentative writing skills within the context of first-year college writing course. We found a significant effect of the use of argument diagrams, and this effect was stable even when multiple plausible correlates were controlled for. These results suggest that natural⎯and relatively minor⎯modifications to standard first-year composition courses could provide substantial increases in student writing ability.


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