Second Language Task Grading and Syntactic Complexity in Writing

Laleh Fakhraee Faruji, Naeemeh Kharaghani


This study is motivated by Robinson’s Cognition Hypothesis and aims to investigate the impact of task grading along reasoning demands dimension on syntactic complexity in English as foreign language writing.  The participants of the study were 90 intermediate EFL learners from three intact classes at, and a Control group. At first, the students in all groups took part in the writing pre-test which was a picture story description task. Next, the treatment sessions including 8 sessions of picture description task performance began, during which the first experimental group received a series of picture description tasks in a randomized order of cognitive complexity. The second experimental group received the same tasks, but ordered from simple to complex based on their required reasoning demands.  The control group, however, did not receive any picture description tasks; rather they received some typical writing activities and performed extra writing tasks from the course book. Finally, during the last session, the post- test was administered to all participants. The results of the data analysis through Analysis of Variances (ANOVA) using the SPSS software showed a significant positive impact for sequencing tasks from simple to complex on syntactic complexity of Iranian intermediate EFL learners.


Cognition Hypothesis; Task complexity; Reasoning demands; Syntactic complexity; Triadic Componential Framework (TCF)

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