2018 University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum

Undergraduate researchers Lauren Trolz, Rachel Williams, and Kristin Hanzek presented some of the results from their work at the 2018 MSU Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) in April 2018. They were funded by the Provost’s Undergraduate Research funds.

Title: Gender Differences in Written Expression: Total Words Written & Accuracy


Throughout schooling, males have poorer writing achievement compared to females (NAEP, 2011). Studies identify this gap in several component skills of writing achievement. Specifically, in third grade, females handwrite more words than males in a short period of time (i.e., three minutes) and they produce more grammatically accurate writing (Fearrington, Parker, Kidder-Ashley, Gagnon, McCane-Bowling, & Sorrell, 2014). The purpose of our research was to replicate previous findings about quantity and accuracy when students are required to type instead of handwrite their response. We also expand upon the previous study by investigating whether the gap between females and males remain when they are given more time and if there is a gap between females and males in middle school.  Female and male students in grades three, six, and eight were asked to read informational passages and respond to an expository writing prompt. The students had fifteen minutes to type their responses and once the responses were given, the responses were scored at five and fifteen minutes for production (measured as total words written) and accuracy (measured as correct writing sequences minus incorrect sequences) and accuracy. Nonparametric tests indicated that female students typed significantly more than male students at five and fifteen minutes, but that accuracy between the female and male students in this sample did not significantly differ.