Assessing Grammatical Complexity

Assessing Grammatical Complexity

After watching the recorded presentations, join these authors for a live panel discussion on December 4, 2020 at 8:00 am – 8:30 am (CST). Moderator: Roz Hirch


Aysel Saricaoglu

Assistant Professor
Social Sciences University of Ankara

L2 Learners' Knowledge of Syntactic Complexity: Insights from a Complexity Judgment Test

Syntactic complexity is commonly measured through production-based tasks (e.g., essay writing). However, it is not always possible to gather information about learners' linguistic knowledge from production data (Gass, 2001). Responding to the call for exploring alternative understandings of syntactic complexity in L2 writing research (Ortega, 2015), this study explores if a judgment test could elicit data about learners' knowledge of syntactic complexity. It specifically investigates L2 learners' (n = 43) performance on a complexity judgment test (CJT) developed based on the developmental stages for complexity features hypothesized by Biber, Gray, and Poonpon (2011), and their complexity judgment criteria. Data were collected through a CJT and stimulated recalls and were analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Results revealed that at the production level, learners were able to produce more clause-level complexity features, but at the input level, they were able to judge the complexity of phrases more accurately than the complexity of clauses, confirming that information from a judgment test can reflect learners' linguistic knowledge which cannot be observed from produced language. Results also revealed that extracomplexity factors (e.g., grammar, vocabulary, length, L1) were involved in learners' complexity judgments as indicated by the evidence from the stimulated recall data.
Video Recording

Hyunwoo Kim

Department of English Language Education, Seoul National University

Yongkook Won

Visiting Researcher
Center for Educational Research, Seoul National University

Link to Yongkook Won's second presentation

Effects of complex nominal modifiers on rater judgments of grammatical competence of Korean L2 Writers of English: An Exploratory Study (Work in Progress)

There will be no video recording for this presentation.