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Dr Mark Brenchley

Associate Research Fellow

 07896 988596

 Baring Court BC216


Baring Court, University of Exeter St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


I am currently the associate research fellow on the Growth in Grammar project at the University of Exeter. Our overall aim here is to provide a more thorough understanding of grammatical development in writing, and (hopefully) better inform national and international policies on writing development. Our more specific goals are to determine (a) which sets of grammatical features are characteristic of writing at different stages of development and at different levels of attainment, (b) how students at different stages and levels adapt their use of grammar to different communicative contexts, and (c) how students’ use of grammar compares to that of mature writers.

To this end, we are establishing a representative collection of authentic student, drawn from a number of disciplines and designed to encompass the full age and attainment range of the National Curriculum for England. Once collected, this corpus will be semi-automatically annotated and subject to a multi-dimensional grammatical analysis. On completion, we will also make our corpus available as an updatable archive of grammatically-annotated, educationally authentic student writing which will be accessible both for further research and for direct use within schools themselves.


2015  PhD in Education, University of Exeter

2011  MSc in Educational Research, University of Exeter

2005  MA in Linguistics, University College London

2003 MA in English & Philosophy, University of St Andrews


Research group links


Research interests

My main interests lie in the nature of grammatical knowledge, focusing on its acquisition and later development within a wider framework of “communicative competence”, and with a particular emphasis on the use of corpus-based methods to better understand this knowledge. My thesis explored the relationship between spoken and written language, as elicited from the student population of a mainstream British secondary school, with the aim of better understanding what kinds of developmental relationships might mark the spoken and written syntax of secondary-aged students.


Supervision / Group

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