Sentence combining practice effects on urban middle school students with specific language impairments

Michael Reinhard Emmons, Fordham University


The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect on overall writing ability of instruction in sentence combining skills for a sample of urban middle school students with specific language impairments. Forty-three students in grades 6 through 8 were randomly assigned to a treatment or delayed treatment condition. The treatment set of 11 sentence combining activities was administered to both groups in a staggered, two-phase program that allowed for the initial training group to receive two sets of lessons. Results indicated no significant change in writing ability for the treatment group following Phase 1 and no significant differences between the treatment and delayed treatment groups following Phase 2. However significant main effects for time for both groups were observed following Phase 2. The possibility of diffusion effects are considered, as the use of in-class control groups may have allowed the delayed treatment group to benefit from Phase 1 instruction. However, as there is no clear evidence of diffusion, the present study could not support the use of sentence combining practice for the improvement of the writing ability of the present population. Replications of the present study should maintain sufficient control conditions to better determine the cause for the significant Phase 2 growth.

Subject Area

Language arts|Middle School education

Recommended Citation

Emmons, Michael Reinhard, "Sentence combining practice effects on urban middle school students with specific language impairments" (2012). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3521768.