ERIC Number: ED208409
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
Teaching and Measuring Sentence Skills: The Importance of Length, Variability, Variety, and Punctuation.
Broadhead, Glenn J.; Berlin, James A.
A study of the effect of an "incremental" version of a generative rhetoric approach to writing instruction was conducted to determine whether such an approach would increase students' syntactic complexity. Ninety-eight college students were randomly assigned to one of five experimental or five control sections of a freshman composition course. In the control sections, students learned principles and rules from a rhetoric textbook and applied these in their writing assignments. Students in the experimental sections first went through a graduated sequence of source sentences, transformation models, and exercises, then wrote essays while continuing to make analogies and extrapolations according to the teacher's instructions. Both groups were pretested and posttested for punctuation and sentence combining and then assigned an exit essay. A comparison of the results from the two groups showed that when judged solely by gains in T-unit length, the "incremental" version of generative rhetoric yielded results similar to those obtained by "pure" sentence combining and generative rhetoric. The experimental treatment increased the syntactic variety of students' writing and increased the percentage of appropriate punctuation. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Syntactic Complexity
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (29th, Denver, CO, March 30-April 1, 1978).