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An Analysis of Senior High Students' Science Writing and Its Relations with Their Academic Achievement - A Systemic Functional Linguistics Approach
Systemic Functional Linguistics
Drawing upon the Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), this study investigates the features of senior high students’ science writing and the relations between student’s science writing and their academic achievement. Forty senior high students took parts in this study. After viewing a video clip of buoyancy designed by the author, students were asked to describe and explain what happened in the film in essay form. The quality and quantity of students’ writing were analyzed in terms of the grammatical system of transitivity of SFL. Students’ learning outcome of physics, Mandarin, and science were collected to explore the relations between science writing and academic achievement. Major findings were listed as the follows: 1. The average lexical density of student science writing was 3.35, where 35% were science content words. Students produced more observational descriptions than explanatory clauses. 2. The quantity of circumstantial component, number of explanatory clauses, and the delicacy of clauses correlated with students’ physics learning achievement only. 3. The amount of incorrect explanation and the depth of phrases produced by students were correlated with their Mandarin performance only. 4. Although the amount of clauses and number of rank-shift deployed by students in their writing correlated with all academic achievements, however, in the case of physics learning outcome, the latter seemed playing a critical role than the former. According the findings of this study, implications for science teaching were discussed and suggestions for further research were proposed.
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