Improving Writing Skills via the Concept of Human Adaptability. An Experiment with Rubber Erasers

Scientific Study, 2017

33 Pages, Grade: 80.00


Table of Contents

1. Introduction
A. The Problem
B. My Goals
C. Literature Review

2. Body
2.1 The Experiment
2.2 Test Subject 1
A. Week 1
B. Week 2
C. Week 3
D. Week 4
E. Week 5
F. Week 6
2.3 Test Subject
A. Week 1
B. Week 2
C. Week 3
D. Week 4
E. Week 5
F. Week 6
2.4 Test Subject
A. Week 1
B. Week 2
C. Week 3
D. Week 4
E. Week 5
F. Week 6
2.5 Test Subject 4
A. Week 1
B. Week 2
C. Week 3
D. Week 4
E. Week 5
F. Week 6
2.6 Group Results and Comparisons Between Test Subjects
A. Group Results for First Three Weeks
B. Group Results for Last Three Weeks
C. Comparisons Between Test Subjects
2.7 Discussion on the Research
A. Difficulties I faced
B. My Regrets
C. The Relevance of My results in Relation to Other Research

3. Conclusion

4. Works Cited

5. Appendices


Human beings are an adaptive species for better or worse. If something is lacking in our environment, we find alternatives or make up for it. If something is too abundant, we over-rely on this something and slacken. Our amazing adaptive skills have led to the development of many groundbreaking technological advances, but it is these technological advances that are leading to our regressing as a species. For example, calculators are now widely available, and they have basically eliminated any need for exercising basic arithmetic. Consequently, many people do not know how or face difficulties when calculating math exercises without calculators. Before the advent of calculators, the average person out of necessity was much more adept in calculations. Likewise, other technological advancements, such as the computer, have made humans a little too complacent. I, however, am specifically worried about erasers.

A) The Problem:

The first commercially marketed rubber eraser was developed in 1770 by English engineer Edward Nairne (Wikipedia). Since then, erasers have gained wide popularity almost everywhere around the world. The rubber eraser was, and still is, a revolutionary invention that drastically changed how people write. No longer did a person have to worry about miswriting a word or committing a dumb mistake while writing. Nevertheless, like many other great inventions, erasers have been taken for granted and have been over-relied upon, especially by students. As a student, I have observed in my twelve-year tenure tremendous over-reliance on erasers, particularly by high school students because they usually have the biggest workload. I believe that this overuse of erasers by students has drastically deteriorated individual writing skills and has made many students lose focus when writing. After all, why should a student focus extensively on avoiding any mistakes if a mistake could easily be erased?

B) My Goals:

I did not like the current status of students’ writing skills, so I conducted an experiment that involved removing the eraser from students’ environments for a set period of time in hope that without an eraser to bail them out, students will start to focus more while writing. There are, of course, other goals I had in mind for this experiment. If it turns out to be a success, this experiment proves that humans can change long-lasting habits by abstaining from them for specific periods of time, so such an experimentation technique could be used for broader scopes or more serious issues of the same type. In addition, I hope that the results of this experiment will raise awareness of just how extensively people are affected by common items taken for granted. Important notice: I am not against the use of erasers, and I do not want them eliminated completely from human life; I simply advocate that people should rely a little less on them.

C) Literature Review:

The concept of human adaptability first came to my mind from reading on evolution in my grade 10 biology book Miller and Levine Biology by Ken Miller and Joe Levine. I do not actually believe in evolution, but I cannot deny that its notions of adaptability are rather sound. I later came across human adaptability in the book SAT Subject Test: Biology E/M by Kaplan. In this book, I really got an in-depth view of human behavior and what makes humans able to adapt better than other species. After receiving the required information from these two books, I predicted that the experiment would be some sort of a success. To be even surer, I wanted to look up similar experiments on the web, but I could not find any.

The Experiment

The actual experiment was conducted over a six-week period from November 21st, 2016, to January 2nd, 2017. It involved four test subjects, three grade twelve males and one grade eleven female. I mentioned previously that high school students write the most, so it only made sense to conduct this experiment on them. I am a grade twelve male, so getting other grade twelves to participate was easier than getting people from other classes. Nevertheless, I wanted to diversify my test subjects, so I made my eleventh grade sister participate as well. These test subjects basically lived normal lives with only two alterations: they were not allowed to use either erasers or pens.

Why no pens? Well, the main premise of this experiment was restricting the use of erasers. Erasers are predominantly used when writing with pencils. Allowing the test subjects to use pens would not only remove the originality from my research, as forcing people to use pens instead of pencils has already been done, but would also obstruct the results because pens introduce another variable into the experiment. People are already used to not erasing while writing with pens. Moreover, people exhibit different writing patterns with pens. I wanted to keep the experiment as controlled as possible, so simply eliminating pens from the whole process seemed to be the smart choice.

As for maintaining the authenticity of the experiment, I made sure to confiscate the erasers of my test subjects so that they do not accidentally erase out of habit. I mentioned that the experiment lasted for six weeks. After every week, I had my test subjects take photos of every page they wrote during the week and send them to me. The test subjects sent their pictures (pages) by WhatsApp, so I had to save them on Google Drive then download them from Google Drive on my computer to access them there. After I collected all the pictures, I analyzed and marked all the mistakes I could see. The marking of mistakes was done by using the drawing options available in Windows 10 photo gallery. I drew a circle around every mistake I could spot. Figure 2 is an example. (figure 2)

As can be seen from figure 1, all the mistakes were circled, and the total number of mistakes was written on the image. I wrote the number of mistakes on each page to make it easier for me to compute the total number of mistakes each week. Doing so allowed easier weekly comparisons, which are the most important part of this research. Comparing the number of mistakes between weeks allowed me to see how the test subjects were progressing. If they were making fewer mistakes with each passing week, my experiment was working. More samples of pages are shown in appendices A to D.

I would like to clarify something about these mistakes. The way I identify them is by searching for markings, scribbles, or extra bolded words (these usually indicate that the test subject wrote a word over another one). Moreover, some of the mistakes done by the test subjects may have been beyond their hands. For instance, they may have copied something exactly from the board only for the teacher to erase it, proclaiming that it is wrong. In such scenarios, the test subjects are forced to mark off what they wrote although it wasn’t a mistake from them. I, however, cannot distinguish such mistakes from the others, so I end up marking them too. As a result, my method of marking mistakes is rather arbitrary, and if somebody else did the same experiment with the test subjects, this other person may get different results. Anyhow, now that I have introduced the general experiment, it is time to move on to the individual test subjects’ data.

Test Subject 1

I, Mohamed Issam Barmada, am Test Subject 1. Many people consider it unethical to put one’s self in one’s own experiment, but I find that the only person fully capable of understanding and making the necessary compromises for an experiment is its creator. Moving on, in this report I will be showing all of the six weeks of experimentation with the photos and results of each week as well as comparisons between the weeks. Let us begin with week 1.

A) Week 1:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 3)

For the first week of the experiment, I submitted a total of 16 pages, all of which are shown in figure 2. I honestly expected an extremely rough beginning for the experiment, but that really was not the case. Although I did immediately notice the eraser’s absence in my writing thanks to all the scribbles I was doing, I did not feel like the experiment was imposing or difficult to deal with. I committed a total of 57 mistakes over those 16 pages, which would give me an average of 3.56 mistakes per page.

B) Week 2:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 4)

In the second week, I submitted 15 pages, all of which are shown in figure 3. This week proved to me that getting used to not writing with erasers would not be as easy as I thought it would be in week 1. I committed 78 mistakes which, over 15 pages, would give an average of 5.2 mistakes per page. My second week was far worse than my first one; in fact, my mistake average was 46% higher than it was in the first week.

C) Week 3:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 5)

Week 3 represented the half-way point and was quite better for me than week 2. In 19 pages, shown in figure 4, I made 58 mistakes, giving me an average of 3.05 mistakes per page. My average for this week was not only about 41.3% better than week 2’s but also about 14.3% better than week 1’s. As of the half-way point, my experiment seemed to be working. Graph 1 shows my first-three-week progress.

(graph 1)

D) Week 4:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 6)

Week 4 was somewhat disappointing. After such a good week 3, I had hoped to do even better in week 4. However in the 19 pages, shown in figure 5, submitted this week, I did 83 mistakes, resulting in an average of 4.37 mistakes per page this week. I ended up doing about 43.2% worse than I did in week 3.

E) Week 5:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 7)

Week 5 was quite the abnormality. I finished the week with only 8 pages submitted, shown in figure 6, because it was a slow week at school. Consequently, with only 8 pages I merely made 12 mistakes. The average for this week was 1.5 mistakes per page. This figure is a huge decrease from week 4’s average of 4.37, a 65.6% decrease, but I cannot take it too seriously because, as I said earlier, this week was an anomaly with far fewer pages than average.

F) Week 6:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 8)

The sixth and final week produced rather promising results. First of all, I submitted 16 pages, shown in figure 7, which meant that the week was not an anomaly. Secondly, I committed only 31 mistakes, leading to an average of about 2.07 mistakes per page. Even though this number is 38% bigger than my week 5 average, it is also 52% smaller than week 4’s average and, most importantly, 41.85% smaller than week 1’s average. Because week 6 produced better results than all the weeks, barring week 5, I believe it is safe to say that for test subject 1, the experiment was a success.

I noticed after analyzing the data from these 6 weeks that I generally did better in the odd weeks than I did in the subsequent even follow-ups. Graph 2 shows this pattern clearly

(graph 2)

In addition, each subsequent odd week gave better results than the previous odd week; the same is true for the even weeks. Graphs 3 and 4 reflect this other pattern.

(graph 3)

(graph 4)

Test Subject 2

What is peculiar about TS2 is that he not only submitted the fewest number of pages, only 77, because of his neat and small handwriting but also had the smallest average of mistakes among all the test subjects, as we shall see soon. I will display his results using the same general format I used for mine.

A) Week 1:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 9)

In his first week, he submitted nine pages, shown in figure 8, and made 12 mistakes for an average of 1.33 mistakes per page. Immediately, one can notice the significant difference in my start and TS2’s. In addition, it may seem surprising that I am completely fine with TS2 only submitting 9 pages, while I discounted my fifth week for only having 8 pages. However, one should note that for me 8 pages is extremely below average, while for TS2 9 pages is not even his fewest number of pages submitted in a week.

B) Week 2:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 20)

TS2 sent me 14 pages in his second week and made 24 mistakes in those pages for an average of 1.71 mistakes per page, a 28.6% increase. I would have to say that TS2 did worse in his second week for the same reason I did: He just started realizing how difficult writing without erasing would be.

C) Week 3:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 11)

Week 3, the half-way point, served TS2 better than Week 2. He made 31 mistakes in 20 pages, shown in figure 10, to result in an average of 1.55 mistakes per page, a 9.4% decrease. Since Week 3 is the half-way point, Graph 5 shows TS2’s 3-week progress.

(Graph 5)

D) Week 4:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 12)

Week 4 continued the positive trend for TS2. He had 18 mistakes in 12 pages for an average of exactly 1.5 mistakes per page. While this average is only partly better than week 3’s, the fact that it even is better is quite significant. I never had three consecutive weeks in which my average mistakes per page decreased. TS2, on the other hand, is now on a three-week streak which will continue even further.

E) Week 5:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 13)

Week 5, which was a slow week for me, also happened to be a slow week for TS2 since we are classmates. He only submitted 7 pages this week, but I will not consider the week an anomaly because the number of pages sent is only two less than his first week’s number. Moving on, he had 8 mistakes in these 7 pages, giving him an average of 1.14 mistakes per page, a substantial 24% decrease from last week’s average.

F) Week 6:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 14)

In TS2’s final week, he gave me 15 pages with 15 mistakes on them, resulting in an average of precisely 1 mistake per page. This week is also the fifth consecutive week in which TS2 improved his average. Before starting the experiment, I thought that everybody’s results would look like TS2’s, but he ended up being only the test subject who’s average went on a continuous downward spiral, starting from week 2. His week 6 average was 24.8% smaller than his first-week average and 41.5% smaller than his second-week average, which was his worse. All in all, the experiment for Test Subject 2 was an outstanding success. Graph 6 shows TS2’s 6-week progress.

(graph 6)

Test Subject 3

TS3 is the complete opposite of TS2. Because of his big handwriting and use of small papers, he sent me the most pages, 132 in total, among all participants. In addition, his results varied greatly from the two previous test subjects.

A) Week 1:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 15)

For week 1, TS3 submitted 15 pages, shown in figure 14, and had 28 mistakes. He averaged 1.86 mistakes per page, a decent start.

B) Week 2:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 16)

With week 2 came an abundant increase in pages sent, shown in figure 15, and in mistakes made. Committing 73 mistakes over 28 pages, TS3 averaged 2.6 mistakes per page. As expected by now, TS3’s second-week average was 39.8% bigger than his first week’s average. Weeks 2’s have definitely been big problems for my research.

C) Week 3:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 17)

TS3 sent me 32 pages, shown in figure 16, in his third week and made 76 mistakes, resulting in an average of 2.375 mistakes per page. This average was not only less than his second week’s but also was in line with the general trend seen in both my and TS2’s results. Graph 7 displays TS3’s three-week progress.

(graph 7)

D) Week 4:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 18)

For week 4, TS3 made 63 mistakes on 25 pages, shown in figure 17, giving an average of 2.52 mistakes per page, a 6% increase from Week 3. Up until this point, TS3’s results seemed to mimic mine more than TS2’s since TS3’s even weeks produced worse results than his odd ones.

E) Week 5:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 19)

Everything seemed to be going as expected until week 5. In this week, TS3 submitted 14 pages, shown in figure 18, and committed 43 mistakes, averaging an astonishing 3.07 mistakes per page, which is a 21% increase from Week 4. With week 5 being worse than week 4, TS3’s results officially broke my experiment. Instead of gradually improving, he has been getting worse. In fact, week 5 marks his third consecutive week of degenerating.

F) Week 6:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 20)

In the final week, TS3 sent me 18 pages, shown in figure 19, and made 30 mistakes, resulting in an average of 1.66 mistakes per page. Despite this value being 45.9% and 11.2% less than week 5’ and week 1’s averages respectively, I cannot be too happy with this result since, as I mentioned earlier, TS3 broke my experiment. He had too many bad weeks for me to consider his results satisfactory. Nevertheless, from his data I learned the significance of human variety: there will always be that one person who differs greatly from the norm. Graph 8 shows his 6-week results.

(graph 8)

Test Subject 4

The fourth and final test subject is my sister TS4 grade eleven. I wanted to diversify my test results by gaining female participants, but since my school is segregated, I could only realistically conduct this experiment with my sister as she is the only high school girl I am in touch with. Her results are as follows:

A) Week 1:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 21)

TS4 started the experiment with 36 mistakes over 14 pages, shown in figure 20, producing an average of 2.57 mistakes per page. Her first-week average is actually the second most among all test subjects, only behind my first-week average.

B) Week 2:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 22)

For week 2, TS4 submitted 14 pages, shown in figure 21, just like week 1. Unlike week 1, however, she had 45 mistakes instead of 36, so her average mistakes per page increased by 24.5% to become 3.2 mistakes per page. Week 2 strikes again.

C) Week 3:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 23)

TS4 sent me 19 pages, shown in figure 22, in her third week and made a whopping 85 mistakes, averaging 4.47 mistakes per page, a 39.6% increase. This result was a surprise, to say the least. All the other test subjects had better week 3’s than week 2’s except for TS4. Graph 9 shows her first-3-week progress.

(graph 9)

D) Week 4:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 24)

TS4 managed to salvage herself somewhat with her week 4 result; she averaged 3.33 mistakes per page, which is a 25% decrease from Week 3’s. There is one caveat; however, she committed 20 mistakes on only six pages, shown in figure 23, to produce this average. 6 pages are the fewest number of pages ever submitted by a test subject and are significantly fewer than last week’s 19 pages. Consequently, this week’s result can only be taken seriously if next week’s result corroborates it and continues the positive downward trend in average mistakes per page.

E) Week 5:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 25)

In week 5, TS4 did continue the positive downward trend starting from week 4. She sent me 21 pages, shown in figure 24, and made 36 mistakes, averaging 1.7 mistakes per page, an impressive 48.9% decrease from week 4.

F) Week 6:

[figure removed for publication]

(figure 26)

TS4 made 23 mistakes over 13 pages, shown in figure 25, in week 6, producing an average of 1.77 mistakes per page, a minuscule increase of 0.7 from last week. The closeness of this week’s average to that of last week is unique to TS4 and indicates that TS4 has perhaps peaked in her writing skills and will not make more than about 1.7 mistakes per page from now on. Unfortunately, week 6 was the last week of experimentation, so I could not prove this point further with additional weeks of data. To Conclude, the experiment for TS4 quite a success and offered a unique blend of outcomes for me. Graph 10 shows TS4’s 6-week progress.

(graph 10)

Group Results and Comparisons Between Test Subjects

Now that I have gone over the results of all test subjects individually, the next logical step is to scrutinize their results as one collective group and compare the test subjects’ performances. I will evaluate the group results of my test subjects using the same method I used for each one of them individually but in a different format; I will be grouping the first three weeks in one section and the last three in another section. Of course, I will not be showing the actual papers again, since they are already shown.

A) Group Results for First Three Weeks:

As a group, the test subjects submitted 54 pages and made 133 mistakes in the first week to give an average of 2.46 mistakes per page. This average lies in the middle of all week 1 averages, being smaller than my and TS4’s week 1 averages but greater than TS2’s and TS3’s.

In week 2, the group sent 71 pages and committed 220 mistakes, averaging 3.10 mistakes per page, a 26% increase. As expected by now, week 2’s are my test subjects’ kryptonite. Once again, TS4 and I had worse averages than this one, while TS3 and TS2 had better averages.

Week 3’s group page output was 90 pages with 250 mistakes committed on them to give an average of 2.78 mistakes per page, which is a predictable 10% increase. Up until this point, the group performance of my test subjects has been mimicking the individual performance of all of them expect for TS4 since she had a worse week 3 than week 2. Graph 11 shows their collective three-week performance.

(graph 11)

B) Group Results for Last Three Weeks:

Week 4 results have been rather varied with TS2 and TS4 performing better in it than in the previous week while I and TS3 performed worse. As a group, the test subjects submitted 62 pages and made 184 mistakes, averaging 2.96 mistakes per page, a 6.47% increase. This increase means that the general pattern for week 4’s leans more toward my and TS3’s performances than it does toward TS4’s and TS2’s.

Weeks 5’s have been almost universally “good” weeks for my test subjects. Barring TS3, all the other test subjects posted significant improvements in their fifth weeks, and the group result does not stray away from this trend. In week 5, 50 pages were submitted, and 99 mistakes were made, resulting in an average of 1.98 mistakes per page, an impressive 33% decrease.

Weeks 6’s have also produced generally satisfactory individual results, and the group result for this week is the same. The test subjects finished the experiment by submitting 62 pages with 99 mistakes on them, giving an average of 1.6 mistakes per page, which is 19.2% and 35% better than week 5’s and week 1’s collective averages respectively. Individually, all the test subjects finished the experiment at a place better than when they started, and the same can be said for them as a group, which means that the experiment was largely a success. Graph 12 shows the group’s six-week performance.

(graph 12)

C) Comparison Between Test Subjects:

There are many quirks and mannerisms in each test subject’s data that distinguish one test subject from another. Whether in number of pages and mistakes, averages, or patterns of data, no test subject distinctly matches another in his or her results.

There was a total of 388 pages submitted. TS3 sent me the most pages, 132 in total, to constitute 34% of all pages submitted, while TS2 sent me the fewest pages, only 77, to constitute only about 20% of all pages submitted. TS4 and I provided 87 and 92 pages respectively. Chart 1 shows the distribution of pages sent among all test subjects.

(chart 1)

On these 388 pages, 985 mistakes were made. Despite submitting 40 fewer pages than TS3, I actually made six more mistakes, a total of 319, than he did to constitute about 32.4% of all mistakes made. The fewest number of mistakes predictably went to TS2, with only 108 mistakes to his name to constitute just 11% of all mistakes made. TS4, on the other hand, had 245 mistakes. Chart 2 shows the mistake distribution among all the test subjects.

(chart 2)

What about who had the highest averages across the board? That title belongs to me who averaged 3.3 mistakes per page throughout the whole experiment. I was followed by TS4 who averaged 2.84 mistakes per page, then TS3 with 2.34 mistakes per page, then TS2 with 1.38 mistakes per page. As an extra tidbit of information, all the test subjects as a group averaged 2.48 mistakes per page throughout the experiment.

Another point worth mentioning is who improved the most by the end of the experiment. This information can be determined by seeing which test subject had the better percentage drop from week 1 to week 6 in average mistakes made per page. I also “won” this title; my week 1 to week 6 percentage drop in average mistakes per page was 41.9%. The runner-up was TS4 with a percentage drop of 31.5%, followed by TS2 with a percentage drop of 24.8%, then TS3 with a percentage drop of 10.8%.

There are also certain behaviors found within each test subject’s data that are unique to each test subject. For example, I am the only test subject with such a blatant odd-even pattern in my data, which I have gone into detail earlier in this report. TS4, on the other hand, is the only test subject with a worse Week 3 than Week 2, while TS3 is the only test subject with a worse Week 5 than Week 4. Meanwhile, only TS2 managed to constantly improve his average week by week, starting from Week 2.

Discussion on the Research

This report has almost come to an end. However, before I conclude, I believe it is worth mentioning a couple of the issues I faced during the experiment, some of my regrets, and the relevance of my results in relation to other research.

A. Difficulties I faced:

This experiment did not go very smoothly. One of the issues I faced was late page delivery. I stated earlier in this report that test subjects were required to send their weekly writings at the end of each week. Unfortunately, many test subjects were quite lazy with their sending, so I did not receive all the pages until 2 months after the experiment was over.

Another issue I had was Test Subject 5. There were supposed to be 5 test subjects, but I removed Test Subject 5 about midway through the experiment and only collected about 4 weeks’ worth of data from him. He was another of my grade twelve colleagues, but his lack of discipline, extreme laziness, and general apathy were too much for me to handle. For instance, all the test subjects abstained from using pens during the experiment, but he peculiarly enough kept using pens in just the math periods. The problem is that math periods constitute a bulk of the writings sent to me, so his writing with pens prevented me from collecting a lot of data from him. I did not analyze the material he sent me, so I cannot give a scientific overview of his performance, but he did claim that he saw notable improvements in his writing.

Moreover, the school administration was not very helpful. I intended for my test subjects to only use pencils to ensure that the experiment was as unblemished as possible. Nonetheless, the test subjects could not meet that demand in all of their writing because the school has a no-pencil policy in tests. Tests and quizzes constitute a respectable portion of written material per week. I personally asked the school director to give permission for my test subjects to use pencils in tests during the six weeks of experimentation, but she refused. As a result, I could not use tests and quizzes for my data collecting, and my test subjects could not completely abstain from using pens.

B. My Regrets:

As for things I wish I could have done better, my first in this list is the diversity and number of test subjects. Humans are extremely unpredictable, so I should have covered all my bases by ensuring maximum diversity within my test subjects. I only had three grade twelve males and one grade eleven female, with all of these test subjects being Middle Eastern Caucasians. I wish I could have brought in more females, people from different races, and lower age groups, such as middle school students. Speaking about lower age groups, I actually wanted my grade 7 brother to participate in the experiment, yet he could not do so since he is required by his teachers to write with a pen in most of his subjects. Not to mention, more test subjects would have always been better.

Another matter that I wish to change is the length of the actual experiment; six weeks really is not that much. Experiments of this sort that rely on human behavior should last for at least a couple of months. I feel that six weeks was not enough time for the test subjects to completely adapt without erasers. I originally planned for the experiment to last eight weeks, but circumstances such as the last two weeks being too close to exam time forced me to cut the experiment’s length to six weeks. What I should have done was start the actual experiment sooner than the 21st of November.

C) The Relevance of My Results in Relation to Other Research:

After viewing the results of my experiment, I can safely say that the prediction I made earlier as a result of my knowledge of human adaptability was correct. In addition, my research can now be used as a reference for other experiments that involve students changing their behaviors. For instance, Naji Kabli, a colleague of mine, is conducting an experiment about improving English writing in high school students. In his experiment, he uses negative reinforcement to cause students to improve their writing, thus he too is relying on human adaptability, under negative pressure in his case, in his research. With my results, he can be assured that his experiment can produce palatable results.


To conclude this report, let’s look back on the test subjects’ results. While they all had different patterns of data, all of them finished the experiment better off than when they started individually and as a group, meaning that the experiment was a triumph. After I showed them their results, they changed their outlook on erasers and common items in general and now are aware of how these things usually taken for granted can affect them.

Not to mention, I was able to meet my three goals - which are improving students’ writing, raising awareness of just how extensively people are affected by common items taken for granted, and showing that humans can change long-lasting habits by abstaining from them for specific periods of time – on a local level with students. I just hope I can do the same on a broader scope.

Moreover, I have to admit that despite this experiment consuming almost the entirety of my senior year, I never felt pressured at any time because of it, and I immensely enjoyed both participating in the experiment and writing this report on it. Although I could have improved some aspects of the experiment such as length of and diversity of test subjects, I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish.

Of course, now that I am done with my research I cannot just rest on my laurels. The next step is to spread these results anywhere I can. I will post this report online, effectively making my research a foundation that will be further built upon by the contributions of others that use this same method of experimentation for other common items taken for granted, such as calculators and smart phones. In addition, I give the school full access to my research file in hope that school officials and teachers can use this information to further improve the school and to help future seniors with their graduation projects. The school can use this information to gain more insight into student behavior. If the school ever finds a glaring issue with students’ writing, it now knows what could be a potential cause.

Finally, I would like to thank all the test subjects for participating in the experiment. I know that they suffered a lot throughout it. I would also like to thank my mentor Mr. Mohammad Bakri for guiding me throughout this arduous process, my English teacher Mr. Mostafa Nofal for always answering any questions I may have had about the research, the English coordinator Mrs. Amina for taking some of her time to give me and my classmates a presentation about the research, the school director Mrs. Huda for accepting my research proposal immediately without a single rejection, and last year’s senior Zaid for showing me how an effective research and presentation are actually done.

Works Cited

Miller, Ken, and Joe Levine. Miller and Levine Biology. Macaw ed., Pearson, 1 August u 2010,2015.

Kaplan. SAT Subject Test: Biology E/M. 2015-2016 ed., Kaplan Publishing, New York, 2015, August 2016

“Eraser.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 5 March 2017.

Kabli, Naji. “The Glass-ceiling that Non-native Speakers Have to Deal With and how u Negative Reinforcement Can Help Crack It.” n.d. Print. January 2017.

Appendix A

Test Subject 1 Sample Photos

[all figures removed for publication]

Appendix B

Test Subject 2 Sample Photos

[all figures removed for publication]


Appendix C

Test Subject 3 Sample Photos

[all figures removed for publication]

Appendix D

Test Subject 4 Sample Photos

[all figures removed for publication]

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Improving Writing Skills via the Concept of Human Adaptability. An Experiment with Rubber Erasers
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This my high school graduation project. It is a 6000-word report about my experimental research Erase the Eraser
Experiment, rubber, writing skill, student behaviour
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Mohamed Barmada (Author), 2017, Improving Writing Skills via the Concept of Human Adaptability. An Experiment with Rubber Erasers, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free