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Assessing the quality of arguments in students' persuasive writing: A case study analyzing the relationship between surface structure and substance

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... This implies that a text feature to which the rater attaches great importance can be more decisive than another text feature. Other authors, like Stapleton and Wu (2015), describe the weight of the separate text features in a rubric as fixed. This implies that the rater cannot decide the weight of each text feature and this makes analytic rating less free than holistic rating. ...
... A qualifier adds credibility to the argument, whereas rebuttals are circumstances under which a claim is not valid (Toulmin, 1958). The original Toulmin-model has been modified in contemporary literature into a more understandable and practical model (Nussbaum and Kardash, 2005;Nussbaum and Schraw, 2007;Qin and Karabacak, 2010;Stapleton and Wu, 2015). Alongside the work of Toulmin (1958) and Stapleton and Wu (2015) stated that a strong argumentative text is composed of two important elements. ...
... The original Toulmin-model has been modified in contemporary literature into a more understandable and practical model (Nussbaum and Kardash, 2005;Nussbaum and Schraw, 2007;Qin and Karabacak, 2010;Stapleton and Wu, 2015). Alongside the work of Toulmin (1958) and Stapleton and Wu (2015) stated that a strong argumentative text is composed of two important elements. First, an argumentative text must be constructed taking into account all elements contributing to a good quality of argumentation. ...
... In this regard, how to adapt and implement the model in each specific classroom has created the need for a range of studies targeting a variety of educational contexts -such as age, language level, language culture, and so on. Although the Toulmin model has been used in writing on arguments for a long time, studies on this model in the context of writing classrooms -many of which have been stuck using it as a way of evaluating essays (Carlsen & Hall, 1997;Chinn & Anderson, 1998;Jimenez-Aleixandre, Bugallo-Rodriguez & Duschl, 1997;Stapleton & Wu, 2015) -have rarely been conducted (Lunsford, 2002). Also, many studies on the Toulmin model have been done for English native writers (Crammond, 1998;Ferretti et al., 2000;Nussbaum & Kardash, 2005), rather than writers using English as a second or foreign language (Qin & Karabacak, 2010). ...
... Meanwhile, a study conducted by Stapleton and Wu (2015) used the Toulmin model as a writing rubric for students, as well as an evaluative measure for essay markers. Among the argumentative essays written by 125 high school students in Hong Kong, six were selected in order to analyse the quality of the logical structure according to a set of analytic scoring standards, which were the modified argumentation components of the Toulmin model, with more focus on counter-arguments and rebuttals for this case study. ...
... Despite this pedagogical benefit, the ambiguous boundaries between the different argumentation elements and one unified structure for logical development can result in confusion for learners, and require further consideration for teachers to adapt for their classrooms (Ellis, 2015;Fulkerson, 1996;McGee, 2000;Lunsford, 2002;Warren, 2010). While there is more room for this modification for teaching practices, studies on the Toulmin model have generally used it as a scoring rubric (Carlsen & Hall, 1997;Chinn & Anderson, 1998;Jimenez-Aleixandre, Bugallo-Rodriguez & Duschl, 1997;Stapleton & Wu, 2015). Remembering the need for learner awareness in genre-specific knowledge, and teacher intervention for learner readiness, and feedback interaction in process-based writing classrooms, argumentative writing as a genre is likely to need a clear and indicative framework for students to follow. ...
Thesis
In higher education in South Korea, English proficiency has been specifically emphasised by the government (Kang, 2015; Kang, 2018; Kim, 2017; Shim & Park, 2008; Williams, 2015). However, writing skills have had little attention in education settings, including higher education institutions (Kim, 2018; Shin, 2018; Park, 2020; Shin & Hyun, 2020; Yu, 2019), despite a series of educational reforms. Students in South Korean higher education are now facing practical and specific needs for argumentative writing in English (Shim, 2016; Shin, 2018). However, the overall context of English education does not fully reflect their real needs (Kim, 2018; Kwon, 2012; Kwak, 2017; Shim, 2016). South Korean universities require their students to reach a specific level at one of the English proficiency tests (Kim, 2018; Ma, 2018; Shim, 2016), most of which include at least one argumentative writing task. Additionally, the certificate of English proficiency test is widely used as the basic skills reference for their career (Kim, 2018). In the meantime, writing proficiency has increasingly gained its own weight in English language tests (Kim, 2018; Ma, 2018; Shin, 2018), adding to the burden on students to develop their writing proficiency (Kim, 2018; Ma, 2018). Despite students’ need for improvement in English writing proficiency, including English argumentative writing, writing courses given by South Korean higher education institutions are still rare (Kim, 2018; Ma, 2018; Shin, 2018; Yu, 2019) and often allow little room for reviewing tasks (Kim, 2018; Ma, 2018; Shim, 2018), even though they commonly use a process-based approach. Furthermore, in immediate response to their needs, higher education institutions in both the public and private sectors have maintained narrow academic attention, focusing on test specific writing skills (Kim, 2018; Shin, 2018). All these situations have resulted in a lack of educational opportunities for students to receive theoretically and systematically well designed instruction in developing their argumentation skills (Shin, 2018). For South Korean students learning English as a foreign language (EFL), argumentative writing in English includes acquiring an understanding of and the skills for both critical thinking and English-specific conventions for the target genre of writing (Ahn & Park, 2019; Choi, 2008; Shim, 2016). To promote a fast and concrete understanding of argumentation in English, representative organisational structures are often used in instructional practices. While many of the courses for English argumentative writing in South Korea are limited to the delivery of instructions, or creating a rough claim-evidence link in a paragraph, this simple formula-based approach may have a limited influence on the level of argumentation that university students in South Korea are able to develop (Choi, 2008). To enhance students’ in-depth knowledge of and skills for making arguments in English, a systematic and effective instructional model is necessary, targeting argumentation development and investigated by rigorous research. However, with a traditionally narrow focus on writing in English education, studies on English writing itself, including argumentative writing, have been limited, despite the importance of this area. As a way of introducing systematically presented models into instruction in English argumentative writing, the Toulmin model can be an effective option. It suggests a detailed, sequenced, intensively explained process for the logical framework for writing in English. In this sense, it is necessary to explore how to modify and apply Toulmin’s components into the courses for English argumentative writing in South Korean higher education. In addition to the practical applicability of the Toulmin model, it is necessary to consider the common context in which writing courses in South Korean higher education institutions provide some phases for drafting and revision/editing, which are broadly anchored in the process-based writing approach. Considering the practical challenge caused by a lack of time for drafting in writing courses (Kim, 2018; Ma, 2018; Shim, 2018), online based classes can be a better option, enabling more flexibility in time and space. Even before the Covid-19 outbreak, diverse synchronous and asynchronous digital writing environments have been utilised in the field of higher education in South Korea to enhance students’ writing performance and also increase the connectivity between learners and teachers. However, the digital environments for English writing in South Korea are still based on a lack of rigour in terms of research evidence, which signals the need for more research into how best to develop digital writing platforms and incorporate necessary support for users. With the two main areas of English argumentative writing and digital learning environments for writing combined, this study explores the effectiveness of a digital-based argumentative writing course in South Korea, as well as the pedagogical implications. To investigate the effects of digital course development for instruction in English argumentative writing for university students in South Korea and derive insights in digital course design for English argumentative writing for university students in South Korea, this study used a sequential mixed-methods design: quantitative phase followed by qualitative phase for collection and analysis of data sets. The English argumentative writing course in this study applies the Toulmin model (1958; 2003) as a specific teaching strategy, with a cycle of drafting and exchanging feedback using the process-based writing approach. To provide the online group with a digital-based collaborative writing1 environment for feedback exchanges, the writing platform, Scholar, was used. In this study, 43 undergraduate students in South Korea participated in a writing course for one semester, 22 participants in a control group (offline course) and 21 participants in an intervention group (online course). They participated in pre- and post-writing tests, two sessions of interviews, and narrative writing for reflection. Also, ten university teaching staff and e-developers took part in one individual interview session each, to provide professional views on the online instructional design that is implemented in the English argumentative writing of this study. In terms of the effectiveness of the online writing course for developing argumentation skills in English, the findings from the quantitative analysis show both online and offline courses had a positive impact on improvement and retention. Although the statistical results present no indication that the online class had higher learning gains than the offline group by any significant difference, this result is supported by the findings from the qualitative analysis, which indicates that the online group performed better in terms of the quality and the quantity of peer feedback. In addition, the findings from the qualitative analysis suggest that the writing course in this study helped students to develop their knowledge and sensitivity in argumentation in English, and the online course facilitated enhanced engagement in feedback tasks. Moreover, despite recognising the value of face-to-face interaction for English argumentative writing, the qualitative findings suggest that the anonymity and convenience of the online writing course in this study encouraged participation in feedback. Finally, the findings from teaching staff and e-developer interviews reveal generally positive perceptions of and evaluations of the usefulness and applicability of the Toulmin model for English argumentation development, and the collaborative writing environment of Scholar. ( 1. In this study, the term, ‘collaborative writing,’ means individual student’s essay writing supported by external feedback, including peer and teacher feedback, not co-authorship in writing one shared essay together. )
... However, other studies did not find L1 and L2 writers significantly different in the display of rhetorical patterns in their written texts. L2 language proficiency might have played a bigger role in affecting the quality of argumentation that was closely related to their effective use of rhetorical strategies (Kubota, 1998;Qin & Karabacak, 2010;Stapleton & Wu, 2015). In recent years, studies have shown that it is not that L2 students are not aware of the rhetorical features or how an argument should be organized. ...
... However, there were far fewer uses of counterargument claim, counterargument data, rebuttal claim, and rebuttal data in the papers, although their uses were significant predictors of the overall quality of argumentative papers. Stapleton and Wu (2015) collected argumentative essays from 125 high school students in Hong Kong for the purpose of analyzing and uncovering their reasoning ability in English writing. This is much related to how rhetorical structures can jointly play a role. ...
Chapter
This chapter provides an overview of several key areas of L2 writing that were not otherwise regarded as central to the field. By briefly reviewing the evolving theoretical views on writing, it discusses genre as theory and pedagogy, foregrounding the development in L2 writing scholarship away from the product-oriented approaches to process and genre-process pedagogies. The chapter also stresses the centrality of social context in which L2 writing research and its related pedagogies are explored. In relation to this, written corrective feedback, one of the most popular areas of research in the field of L2 writing, is appraised to ascertain its value in not only researchers’ but also teachers’ work for improving our understanding of L2 students’ writing improvement and teachers’ classroom pedagogies. To bring closer a praxis between theory and practice, the chapter concludes by pointing to possible future directions.
... By pointing out the errors or weaknesses of the opposing side's argument through evidence, the author can further strengthen the viewpoint and make the argument more comprehensive. To date, the Toulmin argumentation model has been widely applied in assessing the quality of second language argumentative writing (Qin and Karabacak, 2010;Liu and Stapleton, 2014;Stapleton and Wu, 2015;Aziz and Said, 2020;Qin, 2020). Since the Toulmin model includes the elements required for effective argumentation, it can be used to evaluate the completeness of the argument structure and demonstrate the argumentation process. ...
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Argument mining (AM), an emerging field in natural language processing (NLP), aims to automatically extract arguments and the relationships between them in texts. In this study, we propose a new method for argument mining of argumentative essays. The method generates dynamic word vectors with BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), encodes argumentative essays, and obtains word-level and essay-level features with BiLSTM (Bi-directional Long Short-Term Memory) and attention training, respectively. By integrating these two levels of features we obtain the full-text features so that the content in the essay is annotated according to Toulmin’s argument model. The proposed method was tested on a corpus of 180 argumentative essays, and the precision of automatic annotation reached 69%. The experimental results show that our model outperforms existing models in argument mining. The model can provide technical support for the automatic scoring system, particularly on the evaluation of the content of argumentative essays.
... Selajan dengan penelitian (Syaifudin, A., & Pratama, H., 2013) penalaran dalam argumen dapat dilihat dari kelengkapan dan isi pola atau elemen-elemen argumen yang ditulis. Untuk mengevaluasi penalaran atau kebenaran argumen yang ditulis mahasiswa dapat dilihat dari relevansi, keberterimaan, dan kecukupan (Stapleton & Wu, 2015). Relevansi dapat dilihat dari pernyataan pendukung, atau data, atau alasan yang relevan dengan pernyataan posisi (claim). ...
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... The effective use of persuasive language provides an educated person with opportunities to actively participate in democratic societies (Martin, 1989). In the democratic system, educated persons persuade their audience to promote their beliefs or notions on various matters using persuasive language skills (Crowhurst, 1988(Crowhurst, ,1990Stapleton & Wu, 2015;To, Thomas, & Thomas, 2020). Emphasizing the vitality of persuasive writing in education, Hess (2009) maintains that the ability to write persuasively nurtures the democratic norms in the education system. ...
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Persuasive writing skills empower English Language Learners (ELLs) to produce, evaluate, and understand ethical, professional, and political discourse. The appraisal system provides lexical and grammatical uses in each stage and phase of argumentative writing to develop prosodies required to construct an authorial voice and enable a writer to confront diverse viewpoints to build a convincing argument and build solidarity with readers. This work investigates the uses of appraisal system choices according to each phase of the argumentative genre schematic structure to achieve persuasion in fifty Pakistani argumentative essays drawn from the International Corpus of Learners English (ICLE). The findings reveal that most undergraduate Pakistani English Learners inappropriately utilized appraisal language choices regarding stage and phase requirements which undermined the persuasiveness of Pakistani learners' arguments. It is likely to deduce that this work can explicitly assist the English language teaching and learning community using evaluative writing skills central to persuasive written discourse. Keywords: Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), Analytical Argumentative Essay Writing, Persuasive Language Patterns, Argumentative Genre Model, Appraisal Theory
... The rubric was developed in-house and went through multiple revisions based on feedback from two teacher panels as well as feedback from a research advisory board comprising experts in the fields of writing, discourse processing, linguistics, and machine learning. The discourse elements chosen for this rubric come from Nussbaum, Kardash, and Graham (2005) and Stapleton and Wu (2015). Both annotation schemes are adapted or simplified versions of the Toulmin argumentative framework (1958). ...
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This paper introduces the Persuasive Essays for Rating, Selecting, and Understanding Argumentative and Discourse Elements (PERSUADE) corpus.The PERSUADE corpus is large-scale corpus of writing with annotated discourse elements. The goal of the corpus is to spur the development of new, open-source scoring algorithms that identify discourse elements in argumentative writing to open new avenues for the development of automatic writing evaluation systems that focus more specifically on the semantic and organizational elements of student writing
... The structural argumentation analysis is the most common methodological approach to analyze the quality of argumentation. (e.g., Lam, Hew & Chiu, 2018;Abdollahzadeh, Amini Farsani & Beikmohammadi, 2017;Stapleton & Wu, 2015;Riemeier, Aufschnaiter, Fleischhauer & Rogge, 2012;Simon et al., 2006;Basel, Harms & Prechtl, 2013;Zohar & Nemet, 2002;Chase, 2011;Knudson, 1992). Existing studies have normally examined the extent to which arguments used by students are complete (basic structure) and considered complete arguments to be better than incomplete ones (e.g., Aufschnaiter, Erduran, Osborne & Simon, 2008;Lam et al., 2018;Gronostay, 2019). ...
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... The theory of Toulmin's model of argument has, thus far, been used to analyzed many rhetorical argument analyses, such as Qin and Karabacak (2010); Cahyono (2016); Stapleton and Wu (2015); Becker (2016). Qin and Karabacak (2010), for example, analyze structures of argumentative papers written by second language (L2) university students. ...
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