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The Development And Interplay Of Accuracy,fluency And Complexity In Instructed L2 Writing Context

Posted on:2018-12-13Degree:MasterType:Thesis
Country:ChinaCandidate:J X ZhuFull Text:PDF
GTID:2335330542958610Subject:Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
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Writing has been acknowledged as one of the most important parts in second language learning and teaching.The principal constructs of L2 writing can be well captured by accuracy,fluency and complexity.Accuracy,fluency and complexity have been used both as performance descriptors for written assessment of language learners as well as indicators of learners' proficiency underlying their performance.Therefore,it is of great importance to inspect accuracy,fluency and complexity of L2 writing.There is a growing body of research regarding the development of accuracy,fluency and complexity in L2 writing.Less research,however,pays attention to the complex interaction among accuracy,fluency and complexity in L2 writing.The present study is conducted with the introduction of Dynamic Systems Theory(DST)approach to explore the development and the interplay of three subsystems of writing proficiency(i.e.accuracy,fluency and complexity)in an instructed L2 writing context.During the one-semester period,the instructor adopted the approach of formative experiment,which is conducted in the context of the combination of multi-draft writing,teacher feedback and peer feedback.The teaching focus and contents in the formative experiment were differently designed for each lecture to reach the step-by-step pedagogical goals.An intact class of English juniors in a 211-project university participated in the present research.Students were assigned to write five three-draft argumentative essays in a semester.Each essay should contain no less than 400 words.They could finish the writing tasks after class without time control.After they have finished Draft 1,students are provided with peer feedback,with which they revised Draft 1 and completed Draft 2.Then the instructor offered teacher feedback and students revised Draft 2 and completed Draft 3.The accuracy,fluency and complexity measurements of students' L2 writings are error-free T-unit ratio,error-free T-unit length and Dependent clause measures respectively.The researcher focuses on six students' writings for data analysis,two students from each of the three proficiency levels: Lydia & Jane(medium-high level),Nick & Mary(medium level)and Jim & Lucy(medium-low level,all pseudonym).The parameters of accuracy,fluency and complexity in each draft are first calculated.The researcher then adopts a series of the DST techniques to present and analyze data,i.e.the line graph,smoothing polynomial trendline,the moving min-max graph and moving correlation.To better elaborate on the reasons for the dynamic changes and complex interplay of the three sub-systems,theresearcher interviewed the six students in a month after the experiment.The study has yielded the following major findings:(1)With regard to the development of accuracy,fluency and complexity,the line graph,smoothing polynomial trendline and the moving min-max graph indicate the mixed and complicated development patterns.To be specific,the average group accuracy of six students' writings gradually increases over time,and the accuracy development trajectories of each individual are different;the average group fluency remains growing in fluctuation,but individual development is different from group development and there is strong variability among individuals;the average group complexity has a general tendency of declining with turbulence,and individual complexity developmental trajectory is different from group trajectory,and there also exists strong inter-individual variability.(2)In terms of the interplay between the three sub-systems,we find two typical patterns on the basis of the analysis of the moving correlation between accuracy,fluency and complexity of the six students' writings.Pattern I shows the constant strong(positive /negative)connections between any two systems in the whole process,which indicates the high interconnectedness and co-adaption of systems.Pattern II presents a constant dynamic changing correlation,the oscillations of which reveal that the relationship of any two systems is in chaotic,unpredictable change.The findings provide important pedagogical and methodological implications for L2 writing teaching and research:(1)Instructors should be fully aware that though group patterns do emerge,a certain degree of variability exists in the individual's L2 writing development,in terms of both the speed and trajectory of development and the respective dimensions of L2 writing proficiency.Writing instructors could then provide timely help to different students by providing needed instructional interventions.(2)Researchers should pay more attention to writing process,exploring the dynamic development and complex interplay of the different dimensions of L2 proficiency.In light of this,DST opens a new perspective and a wider realm for understanding and interpreting the dynamicity and complexity of the L2 writing development.
Keywords/Search Tags:Dynamic Systems Theory, accuracy, fluency, complexity, feedback, formative experiment
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