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Structured Expression strategies are strategies for getting the intended structure of a complex text into written form. In the simplest case, the writer is able to hold the entire intended structure and content in memory, and expression becomes a matter of following routines and templates that translate high-level intended structure into surface cues such as headings, transitions, and paragraph breaks. In more complex cases, the writer may need to resort to memory aids such as outlines and notes and adopt more recursive strategies to make sure that the final text instantiates an effective rhetorical structure. The hypothesized development of these skills is presented in Development Tables 21, 23, and 23 below.


This class of strategies (and the associated skills) corresponds to Writing Standard 4 from the Common Core State Standards. However, the specific patterns that are appropriate vary by genre, and the various specific forms of writing, including narrative (storytelling), expository, and argumentative text types, are associated both with characteristic discourse patterns (story grammar, framing an exposition, and framing an argument) and with characteristic conceptual content and style/register patterns.


Literature Note - Structured Expression and Genres


Development Table 21. Hypothesized Development of Structured Expression Skills for Narrative Text

Level
Interpretation
Deliberation
Expression
Preliminary
(oral to sentence)
Can accurately determine the sequence of events after reading or listening to a straightforward narrative.
Understands the expectations for telling and hearing stories in oral speech and participates appropriately in situations requiring the telling and hearing of stories. Can apply strategies using situational cues to generate the content appropriate for particular conversational turns to tell a story in a conversation.
Can use a linear sequence of sentences to describe the unfolding of a chain of events
Foundational
(sentence to paragraph)
Upon reading or hearing a story, can correctly interpret cues such as temporal words and use them to keep track of the sequence of events, identify the major actors, describe their actions, and explain their actions in terms of their goals and circumstances.
Can strategically mobilize causal reasoning strategies to explicitly identify the major content elements of a story and elaborate on their content.
Is able, using a simple narrative structure with a clear beginning, middle and end, to describe a causally coherent sequence of actions and events from a single consistent point of view, using temporal words and other grammatical cues to indicate event structure and providing basic elaborating elements such as simple dialog and description.
Basic
(paragraph to text)
Upon reading or hearing a story, can correctly interpret cues indicating shifts in point of view, time, or place and can use them to build a complex situation model involving multiple agents, event sequences, and settings.
Controls metalanguage for discussing the structure of narrative (plot, protagonist, setting, theme, etc.) Can apply focused strategies for isolating and planning particular narrative elements such as character or setting.
Can write a complex narrative that uses appropriate cues to indicate shifts in time, place, and viewpoint and embeds descriptions, dialog, and other elaborating elements to convey a clear understanding of setting, situation, and characters.
Intermediate
(text to context)
Can evaluate the clarity and emotional impact of narrative elements in a story and identify and explain how specific choices have produced specific effects.
Controls detailed metalanguage for literary techniques and can apply a variety of these techniques as drafting and revision strategies for crafting an effective narrative.
Can write narratives making effective and appropriate use of a variety of literary techniques to draw readers into an imagined world and effectively convey a chosen theme or produce an intended emotional or moral impact upon the audience.
Advanced
(text and context to discourse)
Can flexibly interpret narratives by attending to genre-specific cues and conventions and being aware of the background knowledge that audiences for particular genres are presumed to share.
Controls detailed metalanguage for identifying and describing different forms of literature and can apply strategies that use genre-specific features to elaborate on textual understandings and generate genre-appropriate content for writing.
Can write effective narratives in a variety of specific genres and styles and for a variety of purposes, varying use of literary and stylistic devices appropriately depending on genre, purpose, and audience.

Development Table 22. Hypothesized Development of Structured Expression Skills for Expository Text

Level
Interpretation
Deliberation
Expression
Preliminary
(oral to sentence)
Can recognize characteristic phrasing and other cues that indicate someone is providing information about a topic
Understands the expectations of an informational rhetorical situation and participates appropriately in oral conversations with informational focus. Can apply strategies that use conversational situations as cues to generate appropriate information in context.
Can produce a simple text that identifies a topic, supplies one or more statements related to the topic, and provides a sense of closure.
Foundational
(sentence to paragraph)
Can identify the topic sentence that expresses the main point of an informational paragraph. Correctly interprets intersentence connections using explicit connectives that address such relationships as exemplification, cause-effect, or comparison-contrast.
Can apply strategies using connections signaled by discourse connectives indicating such conceptual relations as cause-effect or statement-example to elaborate on a topic sentence
Can produce a paragraph-length text that introduces a topic, narrows to an appropriate focus, provides supporting statements related to the main point, uses connective words to maintain intersentence cohesion, and ends with a relevant concluding statement.
Basic
(paragraph to text)
Can recognize thesis and topic elements of a well-organized, explicitly structured exposition and use that to construct an accurate representation of its main ideas.
Can apply inquiry/brainstorming strategies for generating elaborating content, following such major organizational principles as comparison, illustration, cause-effect, or definition, and use such strategies to plan an exposition.
Can frame a longer text that introduces a topic, previews major subpoints, introduces and develops each subpoint in turn, provides appropriate transitional cues between sections, and reaches a conclusion that follows from the main point.
Intermediate
(text to context)
Can use prior knowledge to infer the main points and subpoints of an expository text even when they are not explicitly marked with textual cues.
Can effectively evaluate the clarity and coherence of an expository text and apply audience-focused strategies to propose and implement appropriate revisions to conceptual content.
Can frame a document whose introduction, body, and conclusion link effectively with the prior knowledge and interests of the audience.
Advanced
(text and context to discourse)
Can use knowledge of specific expository genres to scan and rapidly reconstruct the critical content, both explicitly stated and implied by the document's place in a larger discourse.
Can effectively evaluate how well the organization and presentation of an expository work suits its specific context and purpose and formulate appropriate plans for revision based upon the requirements and expectations of the genre.
Can frame a document whose introduction, body, and conclusion indicate its relevance, contribution and significance to ongoing discourse about the topic and conform to disciplinary norms and conventions.

Development Table 23. Hypothesized Development of Structured Expression Skills for Argument (Framing a Case)


Level
Interpretation
Expression
Deliberation
Achievement
Limitation
Achievement
Limitation
Achievement
Limitation
Preliminary
Frame-1-I-A
Distinguishes between appropriate and inappropriate moves in an argumentative conversation
Frame-1-I-L
Is unable to explicitly analyze appropriateness of moves; may ignore connectives and merely interpret sentences additively
Frame-1-E-A
Responds to contextual cues to produce some of the standard moves in an argument
Frame-1-E-L
May not generalize to written tasks
Frame-1-D-A
Can apply strategies that use peers as conversational partners to stimulate the production of arguments
Frame-1-D-L
Has limited sense of focus, often losing the thread rather than following up on previous points or questions
Foundational
Frame -2-I-A
Identifies topic or thesis sentences and correctly interprets inter-clause relations marked by explicit connectives
Frame-2-I-L
May have only a fragile recognition of topic and thesis in an argumentative text, being overly sensitive to surface features
Frame-2-E-A
Writes short persuasive texts that carry out all the key moves in an argument in a logical sequence, using appropriate connective words
Frame-2-E-L
May have only a template-oriented grasp of argumentative text structures and be unable to generalize to support flexible comprehension or planning
Frame-2-D-A
Can apply strategies that use connective words as cues to stimulate thinking and support elaboration on a specific point
Frame-2-D-L
May have only a limited understanding of argument structures behind the connectives, leading to inappropriate elaborations
Basic
Frame-3-I-A
Infers the thesis and topic outline of a well-organized, explicitly structured essay
Frame-3-I-L
May be misled by surface cues and insensitive to structural relationships implied by content alone
Frame-3-E-A
Writes multi-paragraph essays with appropriate transition markers and other macro-structural cues, including appropriately structured thesis and topic sentences
Frame-3-E-L
May rely on a small set of one-size-fits-all templates rather than varying the rhetorical structure to fit the kind of argument being made
Frame--3-D-A
Can apply outlining strategies that support planning and revision by mapping an argument into an explicit external representation of text structure
Frame-3-D-L
May tend to commit early to one structure and stick with it even if it does not work out well
Intermediate
Frame-4-I-A
Infers and restates the argument structure of a text, even when it is not explicitly marked
Frame-4-I-L
May not make appropriate inferences when text structure situates a document in an ongoing literature or discourse
Frame-4-E-A
Demonstrates control of a variety of persuasive and argumentative organizational patterns, selected to suit particular audiences and purposes
Frame-4-E-L
May not have mastered the full range of genres needed to participate effectively in professional and academic communities
Frame-4-D-A
Can apply editing and revision strategies that include the consideration and evaluation of alternative ways to organize an argument
Frame-4-D-L
May be insensitive to usefulness of particular text structures and in specific disciplines or contexts
Advanced
Frame-5-I-A
Uses knowledge of specialized genre structures to scan and rapidly reconstruct the author’s argument and role in a larger discourse
Frame-5-I-L

N/A
Frame-5-E-A
Demonstrates control of a variety of specific argument structures and organizational patterns appropriate to particular topics (history, literature, etc.) and contexts (scholarly, popular)
Frame-5-E-L

N/A
Frame-5-D-A
Can apply strategies that take advantage of genre structures to identify relationships across texts in an extended discourse
Frame-5-D-L

N/A



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