Linguistic correlates of text quality from childhood to adulthood

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Holistic scoring of written texts is a most favored procedure to evaluate text quality in both the teaching and research of writing. However, the text properties that educators take into account to perform those evaluations have rarely been investigated. In this paper we examined the extent to which a series of linguistic markers obtained from written narrative texts contributed to explaining variation in the holistic scores assigned by independent raters. The written texts were produced by 80 participants divided into four age groups (9-, 12, 16-year olds, and adults), who were asked to write about the topic of a silent video showing conflicts at school. Linguistic markers were organized into three domains: syntactic complexity, cohesion, and vocabulary use. Our findings suggest that linguistic features are fundamental to perceptions of text quality in Spanish, though only a few text-based measures contributed significantly to the models for each age group. Educators took into account modality and genre constraints, and adjusted their criteria to the educational level of the writers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWritten and Spoken Language Development across the Lifespan. Essays in Honour of Liliana Tolchinsky.
EditorsJoan Perera, Melina Aparici Aznar, Elisa Rosado, Naymé Salas
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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