A quasi-experimental study on the effects of a program of instruction for developing greater syntactic awareness, fluency, and maturity in student writers
Clayton, Christopher Michael
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Today, despite over a hundred years of debate and research in the field, there is still tremendous discord in what constitutes the best-practices for grammar and mechanics instruction in the field of English language arts pedagogy. In a quasi-experimental design study, an inquiry into a grammar and mechanics instructional approach I developed as a high school English teacher was conducted in an effort to ascertain whether the approach helps foster significant writing improvement within secondary ELA students. The results of the study reveal that students did demonstrate over four times more growth on the grammar and mechanics assessments and approximately twice as much growth in writing achievement on writing assessments when exposed to my approach as compared to the semester where a teacher delivered their usual instructional approach. Additionally, there exists a much stronger correlation with the students’ performance on the grammar and mechanics assessments in the second (treatment) semester than the first, and this stronger correlation is an additional supportive compelling aspect in helping to conclude that the instructional approach does appear to be beneficial and more effective in helping students improve as writers when compared to other grammar and mechanics instructional approaches commonly employed by high school English teachers today. Perhaps this study can contribute to discussion and spark further research into the efficacy and merit of “middle-ground” approaches on the grammar and mechanics instructional continuum and make a small contribution to the long debate regarding how to best help students grow and develop foundationally as writers.