If we were to use only essential processing, without generative processing, it would be like rote learning the core information, so we can compare referencing, passives, and paraphrasing in terms of how complex the material is to process. However, as @sue, @azurial, @georgie_l, @paul-m,@naomirabin, @zsofit and @andrew suggest, the issue with paraphrasing in particular is that students will never simply replicate exactly what they learnt in the classroom. Regardless of how complex it might be to process initially, students are then required to transfer these skills and apply what they ‘learnt’ to produce something original in their new context, which may look very different to what they produced in the EAP classroom. This could be described as far transfer. Writing a reference list, however, may just require students to replicate what they did in class (near transfer). As @robert mentions, making connections with the students’ subject area might help during generative processing to increase relevance and reduce the transfer distance.