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Volume 11 Number 1, Spring 2014, Pages 1-148   

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Linguistic Differences in the Writing Performance of Adolescent EFL Learners: The Influence of Independent and Integrated Tasks

    Hye Won Shin and Hyun Jung Kim

This study investigates the different linguistic effects that independent (writing-only) and integrated (reading-to-write) tasks have on adolescent English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners' writing performance. An automated tool, Coh-Metrix, is employed to examine how productive skills are affected by the two types of tasks. In a 2x2x2 study design, 122 randomly assigned 11th-grade EFL students took both independent and integrated writing assessments. The results reveal that the two types of writing tasks produced submissions from students that were significantly different in their lexical sophistication, cohesion, and syntactic complexity. The present study highlights the importance of task type and of a learner's language proficiency when examining writing test performance. In particular, on the integrated task, high-proficiency test-takers were able to produce texts that were more lexically and syntactically sophisticated, as well as more cohesive, than low-proficiency test-takers.

Keywords: writing test, independent task, integrated task, Coh-Metrix