Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Applied Linguistics

Committee Chair

Emily A Thrush

Committee Member

Teresa S Dalle

Committee Member

Charles E Hall

Committee Member

Verner D Mitchell


My dissertation focuses on ESL writing development of Omani students' writing at college level. More specifically, I am interested in tracing the students' development in college writing across three levels. My research questions are: are 4th year students' essays more complex than 2nd year students' essays? Are 2nd year students' essays more complex than foundation students' essays? If so, what features of language are driving these differences? My main hypothesis is that 4th year essays will show more linguistic features than 2nd year and foundation year essays and 2nd year essays will show more linguistic features than foundation year. This hypothesis supposes 4th year students ave taken lots of courses, they are more mature, and they have been exposed to the language more than the other two groups. In order to address these questions, I collected essays from three levels: foundation, 2nd year, and 4th year. I use the computational tools Coh-Metrix and the Gramulator to analyze the students' essays and identify the linguistic features that show development. Additionally, I analyze three sample essays (one from each level)) to provide an insight into the context of the linguistic features identified by both, Coh-Metrix and the Gramulator. The purpose of my dissertation is to trace development in students' writing and to offer some insight as to the improvement they make across the three levels.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.