AbstractThis pilot-study used new methods to identify specific areas of weakness in students’ writing, in the Mathematics Statistics and Operational Research (MSOR) subject areas. The results produced clear recommendations for specific content for reusable learning objects (RLOs) to improve students’ writing. Many students have poor skills in writing; the initial question was to identify which areas were poor. A new mechanism for analysis derived from Halliday’s 1973 text-context-functions model allowed students’ written work to be tested at the ideas function, the interpersonal function and the signpost functions. Specific instruments tested each function: the use of definitions tested ideas, the audience awareness scale tested the interpersonal and a text function scale tested signposting.
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