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Chapter One: The Writing skill
Introduction
Writing is gaining a growing concern among ELT researchers. Indeed, it is no longer considered as an afterthought; rather, it has become a self-contained area of study in its own right. Research in writing transcends L1(presently we mean English) contexts and widens its horizons to deal with the matter in ESL and EFL situations.The present chapter, will look at this skill and its relatedness to other skills and areas of knowledge in language. Moreover, it will look at common methodological orientations as far as its teaching is concerned. Besides, it will sketch the different stages of writing development and discuss some related issues of feedback, evaluation and assessment.

1.1 The act of writing
As a starting point in this chapter, it seems worthwhile to get a clear picture of what the writing act is. According to Byrne, writing is making use of graphic symbols which represent the sounds of the language.These symbols, he adds, must be arranged in specific ways to form words, and words, in turn, must be arranged to form sentences(1). In like manner, Lado defines it as "the ability to use the structures, the lexical items, and their conventional representation, in ordinary matter-of-fact writing" (249). It is quite noticeable that the aforementioned definitions have hardly alluded to the fact that writing is a communicative activity. Rather, they emphasised just its physical aspect. Above all, writing is not an end in itself, but a vehicle upon which we express ourselves. Hence, "it is some kind of graphic expession" (Crystal 257).

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1.2 Learning to write
Learning how to write is a very complex matter in the process of language acquisition. Basically, it involves gaining the literacy skills that enable a language speaker to put it in a written mode.To reach this goal, one has to start from the writing system up to discourse level at which the written language can be used as a coherent whole for various purposes. Contrary to native speakers, who possess a firm ground in orall skills, FL and SL learners –with almost no background knowledge in the target language- spend a considerable period of time to reach the stage of writing proficiency. In their context, most attention is directed towards the textual features such as orthography, mechanics, grammatical structures and lexical items. As far as the content is concerned, it is of capital interest to mention that FL student writers draw on their experience in L1 in terms of knowledge and strategies of composing (Friedlander 109).

1.3 The importance of writing
It is hardly debatable that writing has a central role to play in effective communication. Many are the situations which require a certain proficiency in writing ability.To list just a few like writing notes, filling out forms, giving written instructions and writing letters (Raimes, "Techniques" 3).To be deprived from all that means simply being on the margin of society.Thus, it is worth the effort to get control over the written mode of language in order be on the safe side. Still to say, writing is much more needed and important in FL and SL learning settings. The majority of EFL teachers view writing as a valuable tool that helps their students in learning. It is considered as a productive phase in which learners appeal to what they have learnt. To phrase it differently, writing helps students to reinforce the vocabulary and grammatical structures that have been practised orally. Byrne reports that

It is an activity that is. Consequently. the more proficient students are in the writing skill. the more likely they are to pass formal examinations. especially. The importance of writing resides also in being a key indicator of the improvement of learners. it is also worth remembering that most exams. accompanied by frustration.measure their students' achievements through the writing meduim. at the first moments. ambiguaty will be no longer a challenging problem.7 for some students "writing is likely to be an aid to retention. filling a blank paper is by no means an easy task. if only because they feel more at ease and relaxed" (7). Teachers often -especially in formal tests. before getting started to write on a given topic. the ideas appear to be dim and undiscernable. Harmer states that: In the context of education. the process of ideas refinement will be hard and troublesome unless one gets into the habit of doing so.Writing.4 The difficulty of writing For the majority of novice student writers. whether they are testing foreign language abilities or other skills. is common among writers who write in their . once getting involved in the task. In fact. Another issue which makes writing essential is that it clears thinking (Cooper et al 1). 1. in fact.Yet. matures ideas and clarifies them before they take on shape on papers. It is only at this very stage that writers can achieve what Rivers et al call 'Lucid writing' which is the offspring of well-developed ideas ("A Practical Guide" 320). by virtue of its nature. This feeling. most of the time. Apparently. often rely on the students' writing proficiency in order to measure their knowledge ("How to Teach" 220).

linguistic and cognitive problems (Byrne 4). the problem of ideas cannot be underestimated since the ultimate aim of our writings -as noted earlier. the degree of emphasis on a given factor is fairly debatable. the main challenge that faces FL learners is how to translate what they want to convey into correct expressions and well-formed sentences. it is wise to say that both issues are problematic. in itself makes writing difficult" (Byrne Understandably. For him. this feature of loneliness in doing creates a discouraging atmosphere.Yet. . Widdowson looks at the whole matter from a different standpoint.1 Psychological problems As opposed to speech. in writing the interlocutor is not present.To put it in simpler terms.Thus.Taken together.is communicating and conveying ideas. 1.Tribble claims that "the ability to write appropriately and effectively … is something which evades many of us. the problem is "textual rather than discoursal" ("New Starts" 45). 4).8 mother languages let alone those who write in a foreign one.4.Thus " writing … is essentially a solitary activity and the fact we are required to write on our own. it will be without any doubt harder for FL learners. added to other problems. In fact. without the possibility of interaction …. However. The difficulty of writing is due to many factors. in our mother tongues or in any other languages we may wish to learn" (4). for example. "the difficulties that students encounter while writing do not stem from lack of words or correct grammar but these difficulties are largely due to the problem of finding ideas and communicating them" ("Techniques" 13). Notwithstanding this controversy. they can be classified under three headings: psychological. if the writing activity is deemed as difficult for native speakers. For Raimes.

Further. Byrne suggests that the only remaining option for us to maintain ongoing intraction is through well-constructed. Basically. and resorting to prosodic features like stress. Hyland reports that L2 learners identify grammar or vocabulary as the most problematic areas whenever they try to write something (34).This is not an . one's ability to write is judged. And this in itself poses a cognitive problem.9 1. by grammatical accuracy. rhythm or intonation is not possible.4. Even though well-formed sentences may well result in nonsense.3 Cognitive problems Byrne notes that " writing … is learnt through a process of instruction: we have to master the written form of the language and to learn certain structures which are less used in speech"(5). instruction requires making much more efforts and bothering oneself with the do's and the don'ts of the subject at hand. 1. most of the time. "Linguistics" 3).2 Linguistic problems The first thing to be noted in writing is that words are largely relied on to get the message across. It has been proved that knowing the sources of problems in advance saves a lot of time and efforts for teachers (Lado. The above classification is really helpful in the sense that it assists writing teachers to identify in a broad manner what may hinder their students to improve their writing capacities. cohesive sentences (5). 1.4. there is no recourse to gestures or facial expressions in case there is a breakdown or a misunderstanding.5 Grammar and writing The ability to write appropriately and effectively implies being good at manipulating grammatical rules. One thing which is worth pointing out is that linguistic problems take the lion's share among students' concern.

he/she may run the risk of being frustrated (75). learners themselves cannot afford to leave away grammar for the reason that it gives them security and confidence in what they write. Taking a converging way to that of Tribble.When a learner feels a shortage of some language forms. The success of conveying messages through the writing meduim is fundamentally related to the amount of words at one's disposal. Thus. it can be considered as an unseparable part of teaching writing. . knowledge of vocabulary which subsumes both content and function words is an urgent necessity to develop the writing ability. Admittedly.10 overemphasis on grammar since "control over surface features is crucial. On top of that "recent research in the field of second language acquisition and development has pointed to some advantages in procedures which raise learners' consciousness of particular grammatical forms" (Carter et al 79). 1. Greenbaum enunciates that her "own experience as a teacher and a writer convinces … [her] that learning about grammatical structures. grammar plays a critical role in producing the meaning. and larger discourse structures can shape and express the meanings they want to convey" (Hyland 5). From what precedes. sentences. For them. one can understand the reason why grammar is awarded a special position in any EFL writing course. word order and cohesive devices can improve the writing style" (29). the necessity of grammar to writing is analogous to that of the backbone to a body. No wonder then when Tribble notes that the lack of language rules may well stand as an obstacle in the way of producing a piece of writing.dependence on language prosodic features like stress and intonation is altogether impossible. in writing –contrary to speech. Unsurprisingly.6 Vocabulary and writing As it is already noted earlier. Hence. and students need an understanding of how words.

1. To avoid this undesired fiasco. This is so because they hardly find the words that best express their intended meanings. the lack of vocabulary is a real source of trouble especially in an FL setting. At this stage. they fall in a discouraged state of mind which. Having this core vocabulary can be considered.7 Writing and visual materials The fact that writing is not easy and represents a real problem to the majority of FL learners often lead teachers to make use of some teaching aids like visual materials to facilitate learning. Roughly speaking. learners must be provided with some core vocabulary since it is impractical to teach all the lexical items of language (Mc Carthy 49). using these materials can yield fruitful results for all language activities in general. Widdowson points out that choosing the adequate lexical items is very problematic for FL learners ("New Starts" 34). -To create a context within which his written text will have meaning. As a result. inhibits them from writing skill building.11 Given that it assumes an essential position in writing development. and for writing tasks in particular. Allen suggests that writing itself will help building up a considerable amount of vocabulary because the need for a given word enhances students to learn it (17). the act of writing is a suitable opportunity to invest the vocabulary learned elsewhere. . at least. In fact. visual materials are those materials which stimulate the vision of the learners in order to create a supportive atmosphere for accomplishing a difficult task. Wright mentions five main functions that visual materials serve for writing activities: -To motivate the student. Further. in its turn. as a threshold that enables them to get started with their writing work.

and writing and reading on the other is pertinant. events. Wright 38).8. the four skills are integrated in a way that one skill feeds the other. there is a great flexibility in exploiting them.1 Writing and speaking The first thing to be noticed is that these two skills are productive. Therefore. it is fair to say that a lower-level writing class without them will painstakingly realize its objectives. In addition to their usefulness. reading and writing cannot be dealt with in isolation. a special focus may be given to one skill. The combination of two or more skills is inevitable. This entails that they do share some similarities. It is possible that one picture can be used in various writing tasks for different proficiency levels (84). speaking. 1. though. -To provide non-verbal prompts to written composition (A. One reason for this is well-expressed by Tribble when he states that "It is important . it seems paramount to scrutinize the differences existing between these two skills. actions. Having recognized the numerous benefits of utilizing visual materials for writing tasks. including objects. 1. According to Byrne "Both the spoken and the written forms can draw on the same linguistic resources of the language.8 Writing compared to other skills In a genuine teaching-learning situation. opting for a comparison between writing and speaking on the one hand. language teachers are highly encouraged to make use of this kind of materials. -To provide non-verbal cues for manipulation practice. its grammar and lexis" (15). Therefore.12 -To provide the student with information to refer to. Byrne explains that teachers are free to use them the way they like. In a real life situation. Yet. relationships. the four language skills namely: listening.

13 … to notice the fundamental differences between speaking and writing" (10). To put differently. the written language is not a natural extension of the spoken language. Raimes mentions some of the differences that exist between speech and writing ("Techniques" 4-5).Tribble argues that doing this will undoubtedly help " to understand that written texts are not just spoken … [ones] written down" (10). . it is deemed useful to put these differences in a table in the purpose of making things easier and clearer. As a matter of fact.

14 Speech -speech is universal. -speakers pronounce. it is quite significant to abide by certain characteristics which are specific to this skill. -speech is usually informal and -for the writer. -writers have to rely on the words stress. -writers use punctuation. sentences -writing … is more formal and -most writing takes time. Thus. Table 2. -… [it] has dialect variations. -the written language generally demands standard forms of grammar. first few years. but's. and unplanned. -speakers use their voices (pitch. -speakers use pauses and intonation. who and in addition. and rhythm) and bodies on the (gestures and facial expressions) to meaning. syntax and vocabulary.It is -a speaker speaks to a listner who is planned. -writers use complex sentences. page to express their -speaking is usually spontaneous -writers spell. right there … [ to respond]. writing everyone -not everyone learns to read and acquires a native language in the write. with connecting words like however. connected by a lot of and's and compact. -speakers use simple is delayed or non-existent. the reader's response repetitive. help convey their ideas. novice writers should take into consideration these differences between the two skills if they are .1 The differences between speech and writing The differences outlined in the table above reveal clearly that when writing.

the processing of this input takes place. Actually. (88) Unsurprisingly. they proceed first in giving them a text to read. in Hyland 17).2 Writing and reading The position of writing as a productive skill implies the existence of some sort of reception. otherwise.8. while reading which involves decoding a message. . According to Krashen "Research suggests that language writing skills cannot be acquired successfully by practice in writing alone but also need to be supported with extensive reading" (qtd. Needless to mention. In so doing. So far the importance of reading alongside developing the writing skills has been stressed. Reading in the writing classroom is understood as the appropriate input for acquisition of writing skills because it is generally assumed that reading passages will somehow function as primary models from which writing skills can be learned. This is better understood in Eisterhold's quotation. writing is an outcome of a given processed input. Hyland builds upon Krashen's view of language writing acquisition. Basically. most of the time. they seem to join Hyland's view when he suggests that "Reading provides input for both content and the appropriate means of its expression" (17).15 to produce good pieces of writing. teachers often take it for granted that before asking their learners to write something. the texts that should be read by the learners have to be suitable to their level. 1. they will not serve as a comprehesible input during the instructional course. In other words. It would sound strange if one made use of some expressions which are common in informal conversations while writing a formal letter. for instance.

the notions of accuracy and correctness are considered as primary in writing for the focus is on form. is a complex activity that requires a range of knowlege and subskills. In fact. "each orientation illuminates just one aspect of writing" (13). process-oriented. Teachers who use this . Writing at this stage of language learning serves as an appropriate tool to scaffold what has been learnt orally. focus on the writer and focus on the reader (Tribble 37). lexical items as well as mechanics and spelling are accorded a great deal of priority (Hedge 8). this approach gives most attention to the final product which is by definition "the end result of our labours and has about it an air of finality and completeness" (Brookes et al 22).Teachers often take pains when they deal with a writing task because choosing the best way to go about teaching it seems to be difficult at times and irksome at others. Hyland claims that. What is of capital importance in this approach is the outcome of the task.16 1. Hence.These approaches are respectively: product-oriented approach. then. aspects of language such as grammatical structures.9 Appraoches of teaching writing Writing.9. 1. Nunan points out that it puts much emphasis on the final product of the writing process in terms of accuracy. Hence. it is import to put each approach under scrutiny.1 Product-oriented approach As its name suggests. It is no accident. By and large. It is noteworthy that there is no one single way to teach this skill. and genre-oriented approach. Each focus is associated with a specific approach. there are three principal ways of approaching the task: focus on the form. and the issue of teaching it is much more complicated. as seen earlier. that this approach is very common in instructional lessons which are designed for beginning levels. completeness and correctness ("Language Teaching" 86).

and the process through which … [he/she] goes to create and produce discourse is the most important component in the theory" (Johns 25). Hence. it was subject to a great deal of criticism. On top of that. 1. The reason for saying this is that appealing to ready-made texts for emulation hinders to a large extent the creativity of students who already grasped the formal conventions. it is practically desirable to go through various stages which inextricably represent a whole process. this approach overlooks the steps that precede and lead to the final outcome of the task. Likeways. before accomplishing a writing task. finding out topic sentences and supporting details. explainig that "the goal of writing instruction can never be just training in explicitness and accuracy because written texts are always a response to a particular communicative setting" (5). this one is highly concerned with the writer who "is viewed as originator of written text. the more difficult it will be for students to write well" (4).2 Process-oriented approach Contrary to product-oriented approach. expanding a passage relying on hints or deletion. the focus is shifted towards the writing process taking into consideration the importance of teacherlearner interaction and content (O' Mally et al 139). Basically. Hyland. emphasizing the product rather than its producer would be like putting the cart before the horse. putting sentences in the right order. for example objects to the idea of considering form in writing as the whole story. Brookes et al find that "the more product oriented a writing class is. The common practice is copying.9.17 approach often give their students texts as models to imitate and adapt. paragraph analysis. For the advocates of this approach. Although the product-oriented approach is highly profitable especially to teachers who take lower levels. .

the teacher's intervention during the writing process is essential because s/he is supposed "to guide students through [it]… to help them develop strategies for generating. they are subtly interrelated and "cannot be thought of as forming some kind of tidy lenear progression" (Brookes et al 23). and using what they write to read over. and refining ideas" (Hyland 10). Actually. showing the teacher and each other their drafts. many drafts have to be written and read before the final one is edited. From a process perspective.18 The central belief in the process approach is that the writer does not get things right from the first attempt. Raimes states that in a process approach: The students do not write on a given topic in a restricted time and hand in the composition for the teacher to correct… Rather. coherent whole is preceded by doing many intermediate activities which can be translated into the following stages: Getting goals Generating ireas Organizing information and selecting appropriate language Making a draft Reviewing Editing The above mentioned stages seem to occur in a linear way: one stage leading to another. In short. they explore the topic through writing. drafting. One may well go back to generating ideas after reviewing. writing . the stages are recursive. ("Techniques" 10) Producing a polished. Rather. think about and move then on to new ideas. Moreover. In this approach. students are given ample time and feedback when necessary so as to enable them to come out with a satisfactory draft.

9. "A Practical Guide" 320). In Silva 16). Consequently. Time is truly a big classroom constraint that teachers have to abide by during the presentation of their lessons. "Techniques" 17). practical problems would arise if moved to a classroom setting. much emphasis is laid upon the reader.19 would be of great benefit and interest if done in small groups which would facilitate students contribution and feedback to each other ( Rivers.text. this theory was criticised on the ground that it did not prepare students to take exams.3 The genre-oriented approach In a genre approach to writing. The process-oriented approach is in fact theoretically attractive especially in paying much heed to the different phases that student writers go through in order to produce a coherent piece of writing. . another approach came to being. One of the major problems is the insufficiency of time (Harmer. "The Practice" 258). 1.and its goal or aim. and as a reaction to this weakness.The framework provided within this approach is fairly pragmatic in terms of the tight link between the written product. And writing per se is viewed as a social act that serves primarily in communicating and getting things done. Hence teaching writing under this approach runs the risk of being impractical especially with large classes and limited allocated time. However. it" creates a classroom situation that bears little resemblance to the situations in which [students' writing] will eventually be exercised" (qtd. Another worth mentioning flaw in this theory is that it fails to address the issue of the reader. interaction between writers and readers lies at the heart of this orientation.In addition to that. According to Horowitz. It is believed that bearing a reader in one's mind while writing facilitates to realize the goal of the writing task (Raimes.

it is good practice for learners to be familiarized with the linguistic features and the organizational patterns of a variety of genres through a conscious analysis (Harmer. Accordingly. Consciousness of readership affects both the way we write as well as the content (Brookes et al 13). there are some worth noting reservations. considering the issue of audience is a prerequisite given that people often write to achieve some purpose. this genre analysis is conducted through a selective reading which aims at extracting the idiosyncricies of the genre in question. Once these extracted features are utilized in the written product. the role assumed by student writers is relatively passive . worth adding elements and trivial ones (Hyland 28). The results of the analysis are crucially fruitful in terms of expected information to include and the order to be put in. student writers are bound to some conventions specific to the genre within which they write in the aim of achieving a purposeful communication. The genre approach to writing is no exception when it comes to criticism and unearthing the limitations. It is assumed that the teacher's role is vital in helping student writers to analyze different genres in order to explore the conventions and norms associated with each one. and why not with several academic communities. each genre has a set of recognizable features without which it becomes difficult on the part of the reader to get the point being made. Baiscally. Apparently.20 In fact. To this end. In the first place. they should not violate the expectations of the prospective reader as far as form and content are concerned otherwise they will fall in the trap of not writing within the genre. and hence resulting in effective purposeful communication. Despite its great contribution to writing instruction in placing the socially-oriented nature of writing at the forefront. the latter will undoubtedly be in perfect harmony with the genre requirements. in order to be able to interact in different social settings. "How to Teach" 24). To put it differently.

they may well overlap and recurse in the course of learning. According to Rivers. So it is fair to say that learners have to experience many stages before they reach the level of free written expression. there is no clear-cut line between them. 1. 1. guided writing and composition ("Teaching Foreign" 245). Moreover. it is important to note that whatever theory is applied. It is worth noting that the above mentioned stages should not be taken in a straight forward way for two reasons. reproduction. Hyland states that "the explicit teaching of genres can impose restrictive formulae which can shackle creativity to prescribed structures" (22). Having discussed the three main orientations as far as writing instruction is concerned.1Copying This stage serves a great deal in familiarizing learners –especially those whose L1 is divergent from FL. writing is gained by formal instruction. teachers can draw benefits from the three views. It should be developed in a step-by-step method. Secondly.10. students' creativity is not targeted and seen as secondary. and punctuation . Activities during this phase are done in a mechanical way and focus learners' attention on some formal conventions of handwriting and mechanics like capitalizaion. they are respectively: copying. and form an optimal approach that caters for the needs of learners in various contexts. there are five main stages that learners have to go through while developing their writing ability.21 (Yanghee et al 6) given that they depend on experts' texts. Rather.10 The stages of development of the writing skill In any language acquisition setting.at beginning levels with the foreign language script. spelling. recombination and adaptation. Firstly. In this respect. it should never be taken as gospel.

1. this stage takes learners into a further step in which they are supposed to "make changes in passage[s] that … [were] given to them. Although repetition drills are the dominant feature at this stage.10. the teacher saves them the time . this stage requires good memory capacities and proficiency in the former one. This will involve them in reproducing small passages which have been read and practiced orally without going back to the original copy. The teacher's role is to guide his/her students by providing them with some hints concerning main ideas. Apparently.10. it can be considered as the stepping stone for the subsequent ones. Most of the activities during this stage turn around pattern practice in carefully selected texts.10. expansion and contraction (Rivers "Teaching" 248). These minor changes include mainly substitution.4 Guided writing Rivers suggests that at this stage students are allowed to write within a framework and are given some sort of freedom to choose the lexical and grammatical items which they view as appropriate to express the content (Rivers "Teaching" 250). 1.2 Reproduction After relatively getting accustomed with the forgein language script.22 (Rivers "Teaching" 265). transformation. supporting details and organization. 1. and manipulating some mechanical activities. In this way. students "will attempt to write without originality what … [they have] learned orally and read in the textbook" (Rivers 246). but they will not add anything of their own" (Raimes "Techniques" 97).3 Recombination and adaptaion As can be understood from its name.

Now. learners will engage in free written expression. This response takes the form . 1. Once they have done this. learners at this stage are expected to convey their ideas. Common types of activities at this level are paraphrasing and summarizing. Heaton notes that: The writing of a composition is a task which involves the student in manipulating words in grammatically correct sentences and in linking those sentences to form a piece of continuous writing which successfully communicates the writer's thoughts and ideas on a certain topic. In doing so.This implies that they expect a positive or negative response to be given by their audience who is most of the time the teacher or classmates.5 Composition After gaining a reasonable proficiency in writing practice. (127) To sum up. they turn to to their readers to have a say on their essays. attitudes and feelings in correct English. they are required to write on a given theme or topic relying on their repertoire of strategies and the language at their disposal. 1. they demonstrate that they are capable of composing.10.23 and effort and gives them an opportunity to focalize on the language of the paragraph or essay. A common type of activities in this stage is writing essays and compositions.11 Responding to students' writing It is well-known that student writers often write bearing in mind a prospective reader.

portfolios and projects. As far as writing evaluation is concerned. Gere states that: . Therefore. Thus. Further.24 of feedback which can be defined as "information that is given to the learner about his or her performance of a learning task. it serves as a means of formative assessment to remedy the points which stand as obstacles in the way of the learning process. learners rely on their readers' comments to see how much progress has been made and how well or badly they have performed in a writing task. essays. For Raimes. she considers it elsewhere as part of the teaching of writing ("Techniques" 139). it " help[s] learners to alter their output in constructive and long-lasting ways" (Allwright et al 99). As such. especially in the writing skill which is within the scope of this study. there are multiple forms to do so. Basically. the importance of feedback resides in being an indicator and incentive to improvement in the writing ability.12 Writing assessment The term assessment is used to "refer … to the variety of ways to collect information on a learner's language ability or achievement" (Hyland 213). providing feedback on students' writing is of great benefit in impoving their writing skills ("Exploring" 1). With regard to the position of writing assessment in language learning. They include discretepoint tests. usually with the objective of improving this performance"(Ur 242). 1. These views are actually evidenced by the great desire that students show in receiving feedback from teachers.

Important because teaching students for placement or admission. Difficult because the theoretical basis of evaluation remains unarticulated.12. unfortunately.12.1 Formative assessment In this type. teachers are well aware of this situation especially when the majority of learners make similar mistakes. In this case. the aim is to remedy what went wrong in a previous learning. 1. . utilized in decisive matters.1 Types of assessment 1.25 Teachers and researchers alike acknowledge that pronouncing judgement on a piece of writing is both important and difficult. It is often full of biased and impressionistic judgements which are. Actually. and research in composition depend all upon ability to discriminate levels of quality in writing. it happens in most classrooms.1. (44) Geres advances that in spite of the necessity of writing evaluation to collect information about students' progress. if not all. From a practical standpoint. that students find some elements in a course somewhat problematic and need to be further explained. firm grounds are not yet estalished to approach this task. they have to intervene by providing additional activities in order to surmount all the problems standing in the way of learning ("Document d'Accompagnement" 92).

they become critical and self-aware of their mistakes and the efficiency of their learning strategies and procedures. The reason behind this is that self-assessment offers learners an opportunity to examine their own writing and find progress by themselves. suggest instructional solutions. especially outside instructional periods" (Genesee et al 46). nevertheless. Hence. teachers are mostly concerned with gathering information about how much has been learned by the end of a given course.3 Self-assessment Assuming responsibility in evaluating one's work is an orientation that is increasingly gaining ground in the pedagogy of teaching."Learners can monitor their own language performance in any and all settings that call for use of the target language. . Apparently. this view is a by-product of the prevalence of learner-centred methodology which is more concerned with learners and their interests. It should be noted. 1. however. Brookes et al believe that "Learner self-evaluation is ultimately more important than teacher evaluation of learner writing"(60). Primarily. In other words.12. This is done mainly by means of achievement tests.1. Self-assessment is based on the view that evaluation should not be confined just within the classroom. that this type and the former have in common the characteristic of dealing with students as objects of evaluation. the information provided can be utilized to "identify problems. students are not involved as active partners in the process of assessment.26 1. Equally importantly.2 Summative assessment In summative assessment.1. and evaluate course effectiveness" (Hyland 212). the aim here is to spot light on the level of attainment that is reached by students after being taught within a specific period of time (Johnson 292).12.

audience design" (229).2. one at a time. The presence of a specific trait in a learner's piece of writing is a good sign of grasping it. In this way.2 Methods of scoring One of the most common classroom practices. Understandably. as explained earlier. reference to sources. In so doing. Hyland identifies some of the features that can be in focus such as "appropriate text staging. features vary depending on the course objectives as well as on the proficiency level of . What falls in the sphere of our interest is actually how to score a student piece of writing.12. 1. classroom teachers have to be well informed.To achieve this task. holistic and analytic scoring (Weigle 109-114).27 1. This in turn will help them or any other institution to make decisions concerning the actual level of each and every student. classroom teachers try to look for a tangible representation of the ability or skill being evaluated. The rationale behind this tendency seems to be achieving more precision in scoring an essay or a composition. Therefore. effective argument. Lado notes that the operation whereby a grade is given continues to be far from easy and can be conducted only by specialised people ("Language Testing" 250). three scoring types are available: primary-trait scoring.1 Primary-trait scoring This type of scoring rests upon the idea that in evaluation it is import to focus on a set of traits or features. about how to score their learners' work in an accurate manner.12. if not trained. This is followed by a process of scoring that eventually results in coventional rates or numbers. this task has to be approached with great care and caution in order to avoid getting a distorted picture as far as learners' level is concerned. creative response. is that teachers set exams and tests to evaluate their students' learning.

Another worth noting problem with a holistic approach to scoring is that classroom teachers cannot get insights from scores so that to check or adjust their instruction (Hyland 227). 1. though. The major problem with it.Each area is graded with respect to the objectives of the course and proficiency level of students. All this stands as a good reason to consider this type as largely relevant in the teaching/learning process. however. grammar.2. is that it takes too much time if compared to holistic scoring (Weigle 120). they hold a priori a set of criteria that distinguishes good from bad writing. Contrary to the previous method.2 Holistic scoring This method of scoring attempts to target the overal quality of writing rather than its components. To attain this goal. it can be criticised as being partial and time-consuming (Weigle 110). 1. one can argue that the results may well fluctuate due to the different views of raters about what constitutes good writing.12. As such. From a holistic perspective. vocabulary and organisation.3 Analytic scoring As its name suggests. an analytical method is required. . Although scoring in this manner is clear and straightforward. this type "evaluate[s] separately the various components of a piece of writing" (Madsen 120).12. teachers rely on their intuitions and personal judgments to score a writing work (Genesee et al 206).28 students.2. O'Malley et al point out that its advantages are in "providing feedback to students on specific aspects of their writing and in giving teachers diagnostic information for planning instruction" (144).This scoring method seems to be feasible and easy in this way. this one breaks up writing ability to separate areas such as mechanics. and against these they determine the marks.

are likely to enhance the development of this valuable skill. Teachers can facilitate its acquisition by benefiting from the different theories about its instruction. without neglecting the impact of other language skills. Hence. it should not be forgotten that feedback and evaluation procedures –which are interrelated and complementary. .29 Conclusion Summing this chapter up. Also. we come to say that acquiring the writing skill is quite import for both learning and communicative purposes. learners have to persevere with the problems and difficulties that arise out while endeavoring to achieve proficiency in this skill.

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