Newsletter item: UROP Placements: Emily’s Experience

Emily O’ Hare writes:

For those of you who don’t know, the university offers an opportunity for all second year students to partake in a summer placement called UROP. Lecturers across the university employ one part two student as a research assistant on a real project. This is a fantastic opportunity and you develop on so many skills! I worked on a UROP project alongside Professor Rhona Stainthorp, from the Institute of Education. The project explored whether transcription skills (handwriting speed, writing hand, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary) affect the quality of written texts in early secondary years.

UROP Placements

During term time, I went into a local secondary school to administer group based tasks to the whole of the year 7. The tasks were really interesting and assessed how fast children could write under different circumstances, whilst assessing their vocabularies, spelling and punctuation skills when writing spontaneous prose. After the tasks were administered and marked, the scores were then inputted into SPSS (a statistics programme). We found that the students’ performance on text writing quality, spelling, punctuation and grammar were all at least equal to the expected level relative to their age group (as assessed by standardised scores). In addition, we found that vocabulary and writing at speed when composing texts were poorer than the expected level. These findings are important because they indicate that in order to achieve the best of their ability with all of their subjects, it is vital that the students improve their handwriting speed when writing. This will therefore ensure that students are getting all of their ideas written as efficiently and clearly as possible in the time constraints of examinations.

I hope that my insight to this programme will encourage second years to consider this programme and apply!

Emily O’Hare, BA English Language, Part 3

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