Project Grammar - Investigating the Development of Grammar in the Writing of Primary School Children in Singapore

Project Objective:

The project was aimed at studying and analyzing the writing and grammar skills of selected Primary school students in Singapore from 2007 to 2012. This was part of the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) longitudinal Early Literacy Research Study which aimed at studying teaching methodologies and student performance. Data was collected from 2240 handwritten compositions by 320 selected primary school students who submitted 2 essays in primary 1 and an essay for the subsequent years of the study.

Contributions by Kris Kong, Founder of Corpus.sg

To facilitate a system that also allowed for in-depth investigation in the development of linguistic patterns in language use, a corpus linguistic methodology was created and developed. This involved the tagging of words that was done using corpus linguistic software and a manually-compiled computer learner corpus.

The electronically-accessed and annotated corpus along with its various linguistic tools helped researchers to collate qualitative and quantitative data. This presented a comprehensive study of the progress of Singapore primary school students in their English language and skills. The project also explored how corpus-based pedagogic tools could be developed to facilitate the teaching of grammar and writing skills.

The project would be the first of its kind in Singapore and internationally, with a comprehensive corpus of young learners’ writing abilities collected over an extended period of time. This presented a more representative corpus of students’ writing, unlike other studies like the field of Second Language Acquisition. Hence, this project serves as a credible resource and contributor to current research literature and theories of language acquisition.