Effects of Introductions and Conclusions in Assessment of Student Essays

Michael A.R. Townsend, Lynley Hicks, Jacquilyn D.M. Thompson, Keri M. Wilton, Bryan F. Tuck, Dennis W. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Teachers and authors of guides to student writing, particularly writing of an informative or argumentative genre, stress the importance of the introductory and concluding sections in an essay. Within a discourse-processing framework, introductions and conclusions represent rhetorical structures that affect comprehension of the text. However, there is little documented empirical evidence of how, and to what degree, the introduction and conclusion affect the grade given to an essay. In this experimental study, undergraduate students graded essays in which the quality of the introduction or conclusion was varied while the main body of the essay remained intact. The quality of the introduction had a greater effect on the grade awarded than did the quality of the conclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)670-678
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1993
Externally publishedYes

Cite this