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LINGUIST List 22.4776

Wed Nov 30 2011

Diss: Applied Ling: Di Gennaro: 'An Exploration into the Writing ...'

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        1.     Kristen di Gennaro , An Exploration into the Writing Ability of Generation 1.5 and International Second Language Writers: A mixed methods approach


Message 1: An Exploration into the Writing Ability of Generation 1.5 and International Second Language Writers: A mixed methods approach
Date: 30-Nov-2011
From: Kristen di Gennaro <kdigennarogmail.com>
Subject: An Exploration into the Writing Ability of Generation 1.5 and International Second Language Writers: A mixed methods approach
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Institution: Teachers College, Columbia University
Program: Applied Linguistics (EdD)
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Kristen di Gennaro

Dissertation Title: An Exploration into the Writing Ability of Generation 1.5 and International Second Language Writers: A mixed methods approach

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Hansun Zhang Waring
James E. Purpura

Dissertation Abstract:

A growing body of research suggests that the writing ability of
international second language learners (IL2) and US-resident second
language learners, also referred to as Generation 1.5 (G1.5), differs,
despite a dearth of substantial empirical evidence supporting such claims.
The present study provides much-needed empirical evidence concerning the
nature of similarities and differences in the writing ability of these two
groups of learners.

A mixed-methods research design was adopted to examine IL2 and G1.5
learners' writing ability from both quantitative and qualitative
perspectives. Many-facet Rasch measurement (MFRM) procedures were used to
analyze learners' writing scores from three raters in five different
components designed to represent the construct of writing ability. A
whole-group MFRM analysis indicated that the IL2 learners, as a group,
performed better than the G1.5 learners. Separate-group MFRM analyses
revealed that the two groups had opposing strengths and weaknesses in two
components of writing ability. Specifically, the IL2 learners performed
best in grammatical control yet poorly in sociopragmatic control, and the
G1.5 learners performed best in sociopragmatic control yet poorly in
grammatical control.

Subsequent qualitative analyses included an in-depth examination of a
subset of IL2 and G1.5 learners' writing, with a particular focus on
grammatical errors and use of sociopragmatic markers. Findings revealed
that the G1.5 group's grammatical errors reflected a lack of awareness of
certain grammatical features of academic writing. Likewise, the IL2 group's
use of sociopragmatic markers reflected a tendency to draw on personal
opinions and other non-academic sources in their writing.

Considering both the quantitative and qualitative findings in light of one
another, the results showed that both IL2 and G1.5 learners' writing
difficulties stemmed from a lack of adherence to different aspects of
academic writing. Such findings are valuable for writing program
administrators and writing teachers in search of empirical evidence as to
the types of writing instruction that students with different L2
backgrounds may require.




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