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Studying the effect of syntactic diversity on rating of an L2 argumentative essay test

  • Modern English Education
  • Abbr : MEESO
  • 2011, 12(3), pp.406-427
  • Publisher : The Modern English Education Society
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Language Teaching

홍효기 1 Lee, Ho 1

1중앙대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study explores the effect of syntactic diversity and variety on rating of an L2 arugmentative essay test. For the current study, thirty university students participated in the four series of timed essay tests. The researchers analyzed the students’ essays and computed the number of sentences, the ratio of simple sentence, the ratio of complex sentence, the ration of compound sentence, and the ratio of T-unit. At the same time, two expert raters gave holistic scores per essay and made analytic ratings in terms of nine areas including syntactic variety. In addition, two raters had semi-structured interviews. As a result, students failed to show the consistent improvement through the essays in all fluency-related features. Further, the features did not have significant correlation with the holistic essay score. Finally, the syntactic diversity as one of assessment areas was judged as an overfit, which means the syntactic diversity might be a redundant feature and did not have variance enough for an independent feature. Two expert raters reported that they consider various features in the decision of scores of syntactic variety. This study suggested that we need to redefine the construct of writing fluency in the context of writing performance tests.

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