Spring 5-10-2016



Degree Name


Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Bonnie Swierzbin

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Jill Watson

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Jennifer Fossenbell


The research question addressed in this project was for Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE), how can a series of integrated graphic organizers, implemented in an environment informed by the Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm (MALP), improve students' use of result and exemplification discourse connectors in developing written arguments? The motivating factor for this capstone was the researcher’s observations of the struggles SLIFE encounter in moving from sentence-level to discourse-level writing proficiency. The action research integrated qualities of MALP, based on the work of DeCapua and Marshall, with an interrelated series of graphic organizers, influenced by Gibbons, in an attempt to help SLIFE improve their use of result and exemplification discourse connectors in argument essays. The study found that the combination helped middle school SLIFE students organize their thoughts, align their reasons and examples, and increase their use of the target language.

Research Methodology

Action Research

Included in

Education Commons