Cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Carole Torgerson

Andrews, R., Torgerson, C., Beverton, S., Freeman, A., Locke, T., Low, G., Robinson, A. & Zhu, D. (2006). The effect of grammar teaching on writing development. British Educational Research Journal 32(1): 39-55.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This article reports on the results of two international systematic research reviews which focus on different aspects of teaching grammar to improve the quality and accuracy of 5–16-year-olds' writing in English. The results show that there is little evidence to indicate that the teaching of formal grammar is effective; and that teaching sentence-combining has a more positive effect. In both cases, however, despite over a hundred years of research and debate on the topic, there is insufficient quality of research to prove the case with either approach. More research is needed, as well as a review of policy and practice in England with regard to the teaching of sentence structure in writing.

References

Andrews, R. (2005) The place of systematic reviews in educational research, British Journal of
Educational Studies, 53(4), 399–416.
Asker, W. (1923) Does knowledge of formal grammar function?, School and Society (27 January),
109–111.
Bateman, D. R. & Zidonis, F. J. (1966) The effect of a study of transformational grammar on the
writing of ninth and tenth graders (Urbana, IL, National Council of Teachers of English).
Benfer, M. (1935) Sentence sense in relation to subject and predicate. Unpublished Master’s thesis,
University of Iowa.
Boraas, J. (1917) Formal grammar and the practical mastery of English. Unpublished doctoral thesis,
University of Minnesota.
Britton, J. (1983) Shaping at the point of utterance, in: A. Freedman & I. Pringle (Eds) Learning to
write: first language second language (Harlow, Langman), 13–19.
Catherwood, C. (1932) A study of the relationship between a knowledge of rules and ability to correct
grammatical errors and between identification of sentences and knowledge of subject and predicate.
Master’s thesis, University of Minnesota.
Combs, W. E. (1976) Further effects of sentence-combining practice on writing ability, Research in
the Teaching of English, 10, 137–149.
Combs, W. E. (1977) Sentence-combining practice: do gains in judgments of writing ‘quality’
persist?, Journal of Educational Research, 70(6), 318–321.
Cope, B. & Kalantzis, M. (1993) Introduction: how a genre approach to literacy can transform the
way writing is taught, in: B. Cope & M. Kalantzis (Eds) The powers of literacy: a genre
approach to teaching writing (Pittsburgh, PA, University of Pittsburgh Press), 1–21.
Department for Education and Employment (2000) Grammar for writing (London, Department
for Education and Employment [book and video]).
Department of Education and Science (1975) A language for life (The Bullock Report) (London,
Her Majesty’s Stationery Office).
Department of Education and Science (1988) Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the
Teaching of the English Language (The Kingman Report) (London, Her Majesty’s Stationery
Office).
Elley, W. B., Barham, I. H., Lamb, H. & Wyllie, M. (1975) The role of grammar in a secondary
school curriculum, New Zealand Council for Educational Studies, 10, 26–41.
Elley, W. B., Barham, I. H., Lam, H. & Wyllie, M. (1979) The role of grammar in the secondary
school curriculum (Wellington, New Zealand Council for Educational Research).
EPPI-Centre (2002a) Core keywording strategy: data collection for a register of educational research.
Version 0.9.7 (London, EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit).
EPPI-Centre (2002b) EPPI-Reviewer. Version 2.5.2 (London, EPPI-Centre, Social Science
Research Unit).
EPPI-Centre (2002c) Guidelines for extracting data and quality assessing primary studies in educational
research. Version 0.9.7 (London, EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit).
Fogel, H. & Ehri, L. C. (2000) Teaching elementary students who speak black English vernacular
to write in standard English: effects of dialect transformation practice, Contemporary
Educational Psychology, 25(2), 212–235.
Hilfman, T. (1970) Can second grade children write more complex sentences?, Elementary English,
47, 209–214.
Hudson, R. (1992) Teaching grammar: a guide for the National Curriculum (Oxford, Basil
Blackwell).
Hunt, Kellogg, W. (1965) Grammatical structures written at three grade levels. NCTE Research
Report No. 3 (Champaign, IL, National Council of Teachers of English).
Hunt, K. W. & O’Donnell, R. (1970) An elementary school curriculum to develop better writing skills
(Washington, DC, Office of Education, Bureau of Research).
Kitzhaber, A. R. (Ed.) (1968) The Oregon Curriculum: a sequential program in English (New York,
Holt, Rinehart & Winston).
Macaulay, W. J. (1947) The difficulty of grammar, British Journal of Educational Psychology, 17,
153–162.
McNeill, J. H. (1994) Instruction for deaf students in syntactic cohesion, Acehi Journal/Revue
Aceda, 20(3), 88–95.
Mellon, J. (1969) Transformational sentence combining. Research Report No. 10 (Urbana, IL,
National Council of Teachers of English).
O’Hare, F. (1973) Sentence combining: improving student writing without formal grammar instruction.
Research Report No15 (Urbana, IL, National Council of Teachers of English).
Perera, K. (1984) Children’s writing and reading: analysing classroom language (Oxford, Basil
Blackwell).
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (1998) The grammar papers (London, Qualifications and
Curriculum Authority).
Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (1999) Not whether but how (London, Qualifications and
Curriculum Authority).
Rice, J. M. (1903) Educational research: the results of a test in language and English, Forum,
XXXV, 209–293, 440–457.
Roberts, C. M. & Boggase, B. A. (1992) Non-intrusive grammar in writing, paper presented to the
Annual Conference on Computers and Writing, Indianapolis, 1–3 May.
Robinson, N. (1960) The relationship between knowledge of English grammar and ability in
English composition, British Journal of Educational Psychology, 30, 184–186.
Rousseau, M. K. & Poulson, C. L. (1985) Using Sentence-combining to teach the use of
adjectives in writing to severely behaviorally disordered students. Unpublished research
report, New York, City University of New York (ERIC document number ED342153).
Saddler, B. & Graham, S. (2005) The effects of peer-assisted sentence combining instruction on
the writing performance of more and less skilled young writers, Journal of Educational
Psychology, 97(1), 43–54.
Satterfield, J. & Powers, A. (1996) Write on! Journals open to success, Perspectives in Education and
Deafness, 15(2), 2–5.
Segal, D. & Barr, N. R. (1926) Relation and achievement in formal grammar to achievement in
applied grammar, Educational Research, 14, 401–402.
Stock, R. (1980) The effect of teaching sentence patterns on the written sentence structures of
grade two children. Unpublished research report, Manitoba, Canada (ERIC document
number ED208414).
Stone, A. K. & Serwatka, T. S. (1982) Reducing syntactic errors in written responses of a retarded
adolescent through oral patterning, Education and Training in Mental Retardation and
Developmental Disabilities, 17(1), 71–74.
Symonds, P. M. (1931) Practice vs. grammar in the learning of correct usage, Journal of
Educational Psychology, 22, 81–96.
Thomas, G. & Pring, R. (Eds) (2004) Evidence-based practice in education (Maidenhead, Open
University Press).
Thompson, C. L. & Middleton, M. (1973) Transformational grammar and inductive teaching as
determinants of structurally complex writing, California Journal of Educational Research, 24,
28–41.
Wilkinson, A. (1971) The foundations of language (London, Oxford University Press).
Wyse, D. (2001) Grammar for writing? A critical review of empirical evidence, British Journal of
Educational Studies, 49(4), 411–427.