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Volume 3 Number 4, Winter 2006, Pages 1-225   

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The Effect of Task Complexity and Language Proficiency on Task-Based Language Performance

    Tomohito Ishikawa

This study examined the effects of task complexity and language proficiency on L2 written narrative production based on the analyses of 52 written narratives produced by Japanese high school students under different task complexity conditions. Task complexity was manipulated along the proposed task complexity dimension of Here-and-Now vs. There-and-Then in Robinson (2001a, 2006). Language proficiency was defined as scores on the Michigan English Placement Test (MEPT). In order to investigate the effects of task complexity and proficiency, four modes of production metrics were employed as dependent variables: accuracy, structural complexity, lexical complexity and fluency. The results showed that the effects of task complexity and language proficiency were largely independent; however, there were signs of interactions particularly in the cases of accuracy and lexical complexity.