Diagnostic assessment of L2 academic writing product, process and self-regulatory strategy use with a comparative dimension

Qin XIE, Yuqi LEI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

This research conducted diagnostic assessment of problems in first-year undergraduates’ English academic papers and tracked potential sources of the problems to the writing process and strategy use. Data collected include 339 term papers and interviews with 17 students. The samples were manually error tagged and marked against a detailed diagnostic checklist. The resultant textual features were then compared between two subgroups of Chinese students in the sample, namely, those graduating from local schools in Hong Kong (LS) and those coming from the mainland and sojourning in Hong Kong (MS). The analyses found both groups had the poorest performance in source integration and vocabulary use. LS used simpler words and made more grammatical errors, whereas MS attempted sophisticated vocabulary more successfully and used a wider variety of words and sentence structures. The difficulties they experienced, however, were rather similar, residing mainly at the researching, planning and formulating stages. Action control theory was introduced to interpret the self-regulatory strategies they adopted to cope with perceived difficulties during the writing process. Strategies to control goals, control resources, and control cognitive load were found to be the most typical. While these strategies could reduce their difficulties, only some seemed also to help with performance. A conceptual framework is proposed at the end to link writing products, process and self-regulatory control strategies as evidenced in the study. Four diagnoses are drawn with suggestions for practice and further research.
本項研究對大學一年級本科生英語學術論文寫作中存在的問題進行了診斷性評估,並通過審視寫作過程和策略使用,追蹤了問題的可能來源。收集的資料包括339篇學期論文和十七次學生訪談。研究人員對所有文本進行了詳細的錯誤標記,然後系統地比較了來自香港本地學校 (LS) 和來自大陸並在香港求學的中國學生 (MS) 這兩個組別的文本。比較發現,兩組學生都在文獻整合和詞彙使用方面表現最差。 LS的文本中使用了更多的簡單詞彙,語法錯誤也更多,而MS運用了較多的複雜詞彙,單詞和句子結構變化也較為多樣。就寫作過程而言,兩組學生遇到的困難很相似,主要存在於1) 對寫作內容進行研究,收集整理和消化資料,2) 制定寫作計畫,和 3) 撰寫這三個階段。研究應用了行為控制理論來分析寫作中的策略使用,結果發現策略主要用於控制目標,資源和認知負荷。這些策略雖然可以幫助學生減輕困難,但只有少數有助於提高文本品質。基於本研究的發現,文章提出了一個理論構想,初步假設了寫作的產出,過程和自我調節策略之間可能存在的理論關係。最後,針對中國學生學術英語寫作中存在的問題,研究者提出了四種可能成因,並對教學和進一步研究提出了建議。 Copyright © 2021 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage Assessment Quarterly
Early online date25 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2021

Citation

Xie, Q., & Lei, Y. (2021). Diagnostic assessment of L2 academic writing product, process and self-regulatory strategy use with a comparative dimension. Language Assessment Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/15434303.2021.1903470

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