Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Cynthia Puranik, Ph.D./CCC-SLP

Second Advisor

Amy Lederberg, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Daphne Greenberg, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Hongli Li, Ph.D.


Despite increasing pressure for children to learn to write at younger ages, there are many unanswered questions about composition skills in early elementary school. The goals of this dissertation were to add to knowledge about the measurement of young children’s writing and its component skills. Both studies explore the composition skills of a sample of 282 kindergartners. In Study 1, confirmatory factor analyses indicated that a qualitative scoring system and a productivity scoring system capture distinct dimensions of kindergartners’ compositions. A scoring system for curriculum-based measurement could not attain acceptable fit, which may suggest that CBM is ill-suited for capturing the important components of writing for kindergartners. This study indicated that the measurement and components of composition in kindergarten may be qualitatively different from the compositions of older children. Study 2 addressed two dimensions of kindergarten composition and skills that contribute to them, text generation and transcription. Latent moderated structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesis that transcription moderates the relation between text generation and composition for kindergarten writers. This hypothesis is one possible manifestation of the Developmental Constraints Hypothesis (DCH). In support of the DCH, transcription had a strong constraining effect on both composition quality and productivity. Additionally, transcription moderates the relation between text generation and composition quality, although the moderation is negative. There is no signification moderation of transcription on the text generation-composition relation.


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