The quantitative empirical determination of writing skills of first graders – Challenges and gain of an approach based on analytical criteria compared to a holistic evaluation

Sanna Pohlmann-Rother, Edgar Schoreit, Anja Kürzinger


The article examines whether holistic and analytic evaluation-strategies are comparably suitable to reliably determine writing skills already in texts of first graders. The analyses of the 540 texts in total are sourced from the DFG project Narrative Writing Skills in Grade One (NaSch 1). First of all, the dimensionality of writing skills is being examined based on the analytic evaluation. Subsequently, the competence values determined by the two evaluation strategies are compared taking into account the length of text. The results of the Rasch scaling of the analytic criteria are indicating a two-dimensional structure (semantic-pragmatic vs. language-systematic) of writing skills where a stronger correlation of the holistic rating with the semantic-pragmatic (r = .78) than with the language-systematic dimension (r = .47) is emerging. In turn, the length of text shows a comparably high accordance with the semantic-pragmatic dimension (r = .63) and the holistic rating (r = .62), whose correlation still stays distinct when controlling the influence of the length of text using partial correlation (r = .64). In contrast, a correlation between the length of text and the language-systematic writing skills (r = .09) cannot be identified.


Writing skills; Text quality; Holistic rating; Analytic evaluation; Writing education

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Journal for Educational Research Online/Journal für Bildungsforschung Online (ISSN 1866-6671)