Syntactic pattern density, connectives, text easability, and text readability indices in students’ written essays: A Coh-Metrix analysis
Tlatso Nkhobo & Chaka Chaka
Abstract: This study sets out to investigate the four main linguistic categories (i.e., syntactic pattern density, connectives, text easability, and readability) together with their related sub-categories and indices in first-year undergraduate university students’ written argumentative essay responses as analysed by Coh-Metrix. Employing a mixed-methods approach, the study utilised these written essay responses (n = 14 text files in two equal sets) as its corpora. Four of the findings of this study are worth mentioning. Firstly, concerning syntactic pattern density, all text files exhibited a high incidence of noun phrase density and verb phrase density. Secondly, both sets of text files displayed a lower usage incidence of adversative and contrastive, expanded temporal, and temporal connectives. Thirdly, regarding text easability, most text files in the first set and all text files in the second set had a low narrativity incidence. Fourthly and lastly, both the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level and Coh-Metrix L2 Readability scores were low for both data sets.
Keywords: Coh-Metrix; students’ written essay responses; syntactic pattern density; connectives, text easability; text readability.