Graham, S. (1990). The role of production factors in learning disabled students’ compositions . Journal of Educational Psychology , 82 (4), 781–791.

Journal Article

Graham, S. (1990). The role of production factors in learning disabled students’ compositions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(4), 781–791.


Audio recording device/software (Response); Dictated response; Dictated response (scribe); Elementary; K-12; Learning disabilities; Middle school; Multiple ages; U.S. context; Writing



In one condition, students were asked to speak their composition into a tape recorder, and later it was typed from the recording (normal dictation). In another condition, students were asked to tell their composition to the examiner, who wrote down their answers (slow dictation). In the third condition, students wrote compositions on their own (writing).


A total of 24 students with learning disabilities—12 in grade 4 and 12 in grade 6—participated. All 24 participants were receiving resource room special education services across three elementary schools in a northeastern state (U.S.).

Dependent Variable

Participants wrote three compositions in response to various questions.


No significant differences in rates of text production under writing and slow dictation were evident. Rates of text production were significantly higher under the normal dictation condition. However, essays produced during slow dictation were significantly longer than normally dictated essays. The quality of text was significantly lower under the writing condition than under the two dictated conditions. There were no significant differences in the quality of essays generated during normal dictation and slow dictation.