Investigating an Order of Grammatical Difficulty : A Review of Literature

Bibliographic Information

Other Title
  • 文法項目別難易度の研究 : 文献レビュー

Search this article


Although high-stakes tests in Japan include tests of learners’ grammatical knowledge, the relative difficulty of different grammatical structures has not been investigated or established yet. The difficulty order of a wide variety of grammatical structures needs to be established in order for language testers to design efficient and reliable grammar tests, since language testers tend to write grammar items based on their intuition or general and vague perception of difficulty of different grammatical structures. The aim of this paper is to show gaps in the literature as a first step in my research that will be conducted for the following purposes: (1) to investigate the difficulty order of different English grammatical structures using multiple-choice items, which are frequently used in high-stakes tests in Japan, (2) to determine the degree to which the difficulty order obtained in a multiple-choice format is in accord with the order predicted by Pienemann’s (1998, 2003) processability theory, and (3) to compare the difficulty order with the order in which the grammatical structures appear in junior and senior high school English textbooks approved by the Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT). The studies reviewed are divided into eight sections: Morpheme Studies, Negatives, Interrogatives, Relative Clauses, Natural Order, Implicit/Explicit Knowledge and Grammatical Difficulty, Implicit/Explicit Knowledge and Processability Theory, and Fill-in-the-Blank Activities and Processability Theory.


Related Projects

See more

Details 詳細情報について

Report a problem

Back to top