A Model for Teaching Paragraph Endings to L2 Students

Anuja M. Thomas, Philip M. McCarthy, Khawlah Ahmed, Noor W. Kaddoura, Nicholas D. Duran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Paragraph structure has been identified as consisting of three distinct parts, which are the topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a paragraph ending sentence. Although topic sentences have been widely researched, similar consideration for paragraph endings has been less forthcoming. This discrepancy may be problematic as research suggests that instruction on textual endings can positively impact students’ writing. With this issue in mind, the current study establishes a model for paragraph endings and discusses pedagogical and computational implications. The model stems from the categorization of the varieties of paragraph endings observed in a corpus of papers written by advanced ESL college-students in the Arabian Peninsula. We identified the varieties of paragraph endings to form a multi-dimensional model featuring the categories of ‘goal,’ ‘type,’ and ‘cue.’ ‘Goal’ refers to the function of the sentence (e.g., summarizing). ‘Type’ refers to whether the sentence is a claim or a support statement. ‘Cue’ refers to explicit language indicating the goal. The model was assessed quantitatively through inter-rater-reliability of expert-judge evaluations. Qualitative analysis was also incorporated to assess possible subjective differences. Quantitative analysis provided validation of the model. Specifically, even with the most conservative analysis, the findings show that 67.5% of the total assessments agreed, with 75% agreement for goal and 70% agreement for type. The subsequent qualitative analysis also broadly supported the quantitative findings. The study concludes that the validated model has viable implications for pedagogical practices and software development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalPegem Egitim ve Ogretim Dergisi
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Auto-peer
  • Paragraph endings
  • Paragraph structure
  • Topic closers
  • Topic sentences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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