I recently recieved a question from a teacher friend here in New
Brunswick (Susan MacDonald, for those who might remember her from
previous Inkshed meetings). She's concerned about the provincial
grade 11 English test. The province is proposing a new item for the
test. This is part of it:
Combine each group of sentences into one effective sentence.
a. All of the original ideas must be included in each newly
b. Do not add any new ideas.
c. Your score will be based on effective combination of ideas,
correct spelling and punctuation.
d. If you have difficulty with a particular group of sentences,
go on to other sentences and come back to the difficult group when
you have time.
Sample item D
1. Ian Rankin is one of the most famous writers of the twentieth
2. Rankin was born in Edinburgh.
3. Rankin has written six detective novels.
4. One of these novels won the prestigious "Golden Dagger
5. The winning novel is titled The Hidden Highway.
Sample item F
1. Freud and Jung "discovered" the unconscious in the nineteenth
2. Each had a very different view of this mental space.
3. For Freud the unconscious was a savage place which harboured
humanity's primitive instincts.
4. For Jung the unconscious was a place which contained
humanity's collective wisdom.
She asked me what I thought about it, and whether I knew of research
bearing on issues of current views of sentence combining, whether
testing sentence combining is a useful strategy, and whether the
likely consequence of including such an item -- that teachers would
be more likely to include formal sentence combining instruction in
their classrooms -- was one to be desired. (My own immediate
question is why in Heaven's name anyone would attempt to construct
one Frankenstein sentence which included all this stuff, but let that
pass. You can also let pass my ignorance about who Ian Rankin, "one
of the most famous writers of the twentieth century" is, or what Doug
Vipond pointed out, that it's got Jung in the wrong century. Unless
you think someone should care at least distantly about what they're
I'd be grateful for any thoughts or (especially) references on this,
and I'll pass them on to her.
Russell A. Hunt __|~_)_ __)_|~_ Professor of English
St. Thomas University )_ __)_|_)__ __) PHONE: (506) 452-0424
Fredericton, New Brunswick | )____) | FAX: (506) 450-9615
E3B 5G3 CANADA ___|____|____|____/ [log in to unmask]
~~~~~~~~~~~~ http://www.StThomasU.ca/~hunt/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~
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