ERIC Number: ED143028
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977
Reference Count: 0
Measuring Growth in College Writing.
Faigley, Lester L.
This paper discusses the importance of helping college composition students to become stylistically competent and cites a study that examined the essays of 32 college students and 27 skilled adult writers. T-unit measurements revealed that there is little difference between the groups in the number of clauses per T-unit, but the skilled writers used more words per T-unit than did the student writers. To further analyze this difference in T-unit length, measurements were taken of words in "free modifiers"--those nonrestrictive modifiers occurring before, within, or after the main clause and set off by punctuation. These measurements revealed that almost all differences in T-unit length result from an increasing number of words in free modifiers. Moreover, the students tended to place free modifiers before the main clause, while skilled writers used free modifiers more often within and after the main clause. The paper concludes that, since research shows that syntactic maturity correlates with writing quality, teachers should begin a college writing course by emphasizing the development of syntactic skills. (RL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (28th, Kansas City, Missouri, March 31-April 2, 1977)