Second Language Writing Ability: Towards a Complete Construct Definition

di Gennaro, Kristen

In this paper, I explore the construct of second language (L2) writing ability within the context of large-scale writing assessment. As L2 writing theory is based in part on the previously established field of first language (L1) writing, I provide a brief discussion of seminal contributions from this related field before summarizing and critiquing a few early L2 writing studies. This discussion includes the process-product debate in writing research and identifies the inadequacies of applying L1 process definitions to a construct definition of L2 writing ability. After drawing a distinction between L2 and L1 writing ability, I summarize several empirical studies in L2 writing research, noting how these contribute to our current understanding of the nature of the construct. I conclude by suggesting what remains to be explored in the quest for a more complete construct definition of L2 writing ability. Specifically, I claim that a complete model of L2 writing ability must indicate (a) how L2 writing ability is distinct from other types of L2 knowledge, and (b) how L2 proficiency and writing ability interact.


Also Published In

Working Papers in TESOL & Applied Linguistics

More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
Published Here
October 23, 2015