Comparing writing performance in TOEFL-iBT and academic assignments: an exploration of textual features

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper reports an exploratory study in which the written texts produced by postgraduate students in test and real-life academic situation are compared in terms of the linguistic and discoursal features. Data were collected from 20 international English as a second language (ESL) postgraduate students from different first language backgrounds and three general disciplines of science and engineering, arts and humanities, and business and economics. The participants were studying in postgraduate programs in five universities in New South Wales, Australia. These participants completed two writing test tasks of the TOEFL-iBT (integrated and independent tasks) and an academic assignment for one of the university courses they enrolled in. Textual features of the test and academic assignment texts were compared on 20 linguistic and discoursal features. These textual features are related to syntactic complexity (five variables), lexical sophistication (nine variables) and cohesion (six variables). Results of a series of repeated measures Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) indicated similarities and differences in the linguistic and discoursal features of the three writing task texts. Findings are reported and discussed and implications are made for the extrapolation inference claim in the validity argument of the Writing section of the TOEFL-iBT.

LanguageEnglish
Pages15-27
Number of pages13
JournalAssessing Writing
Volume28
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Fingerprint

linguistics
performance
university
language
student
art
engineering
science
economics
Assignment
TOEFL
Inference
Cohesion
Sophistication
English as a Second Language
Economics
Extrapolation
Real Life
Art
Syntactic Complexity

Keywords

  • writing
  • academic writing
  • writing assessment
  • validity of writing tests
  • text analysis
  • TOEFL-iBT-Coh-Metrix

Cite this

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title = "Comparing writing performance in TOEFL-iBT and academic assignments: an exploration of textual features",
abstract = "This paper reports an exploratory study in which the written texts produced by postgraduate students in test and real-life academic situation are compared in terms of the linguistic and discoursal features. Data were collected from 20 international English as a second language (ESL) postgraduate students from different first language backgrounds and three general disciplines of science and engineering, arts and humanities, and business and economics. The participants were studying in postgraduate programs in five universities in New South Wales, Australia. These participants completed two writing test tasks of the TOEFL-iBT (integrated and independent tasks) and an academic assignment for one of the university courses they enrolled in. Textual features of the test and academic assignment texts were compared on 20 linguistic and discoursal features. These textual features are related to syntactic complexity (five variables), lexical sophistication (nine variables) and cohesion (six variables). Results of a series of repeated measures Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) indicated similarities and differences in the linguistic and discoursal features of the three writing task texts. Findings are reported and discussed and implications are made for the extrapolation inference claim in the validity argument of the Writing section of the TOEFL-iBT.",
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Comparing writing performance in TOEFL-iBT and academic assignments : an exploration of textual features. / Riazi, A. Mehdi.

In: Assessing Writing, Vol. 28, 04.2016, p. 15-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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