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ERIC Number: ED173783
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Measuring and Evaluating Syntactic Maturity: Some Questions of Methodology.
Kerek, Andrew
Both as a method of measurement and as a theoretical hypothesis, syntactic maturity (SM) has profoundly affected thinking about verbal growth and ways to enhance that growth. On the positive side, SM is easy to use, requiring no elaborate training in grammar or statistics, and it is quantifiable providing an objective numerical index of significant structural characteristics. It is an explicit model for measuring growth in writing ability, correlating both to sentence combining and to general improvement in writing ability, and thus it has imposed on writing research a welcome added discipline, control, and degree of accountability. Syntactic maturity nonetheless creates some bothersome issues of methodology, such as how to obtain valid figures and how to interpret those figures. Examples of these difficulties include the inconsistencies in dealing with the extraneous, leftover material in sentences (garbles, fragments, ellipses, speaker tags, and the like), and the danger of reading too much into numbers, thus making the objectively measurable SM growth an end in itself. All of these issues, both the advantages and disadvantages, are generating pressure on writing researchers to collect more data and to make their results suitable for comparison. (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Syntactic Maturity
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (30th, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 5-7, 1979)