Cloze and Coherence

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Associated University Presse, 1994 - Education - 478 pages
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Cloze procedure is a family of testing and teaching methods that leave blanks in discourse and ask examinees to restore the missing elements. Edited and coauthored by award-winning scholars, Cloze and Coherence shows how and why cloze procedure is sensitive to discourse constraints, and it offers a comprehensive theory of semiotics showing what coherence is and reviewing a great deal of cloze research. It traces in particular the history of cloze research pertaining to studies of coherence from Hermann Ebbinghaus in the 1890s to Wilson L. Taylor in the 1950s until today.
The research presented here aims to show that cloze scores tend to fall if discourse constraints are disrupted. Also explored are many subtle questions associated with this tendency. Populations discussed include native and nonnative speakers of English, native and nonnative speakers of French, and certain special populations such as deaf subjects and educable mentally retarded subjects.
Contrary to some experts, it appears from the theory and the research that all of the normal subject populations as well as the special populations examined here benefit from the cognitive momentum gained from the episodic organization of ordinary discourse. This finding is sustained by research from Taylor, Oller et al., Cziko, Bachman, Jonz, and Taira. Further, some of Jonz's recent work shows why scrambling encyclopedic text (Timothy Shanahan and colleagues) failed to produce any significant decrement in cloze scores.
Jonz demonstrated empirically that some texts (just as Gary A. Cziko had predicted) are not made more difficult by scrambling their sentences because the sentences of those texts are, in some cases, arranged in the manner of a list rather than a logically or chronologically structured series. Scrambling the list, therefore, has no significant impact. The final chapter of this study gives a comprehensive review of research reportedly showing that cloze is not sensitive to coherence. The authors show that all those efforts suffer from fatal flaws.
Cloze and Coherence offers advances of two kinds. First, a better theoretical basis for experimental research on discourse comprehension and on literacy and language acquisition is presented, which stems from a fleshed-out semiotic theory. Second, experimental advances, whose results are published here for the first time, appear in various studies by Jonz, Chihara et al., Oller et al., and Taira.
This work is well researched and illustrated. It includes figures, tables, appendices, a glossary, and an index. It will be a valuable tool for language and literacy testers and teachers.
 

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