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Posts Tagged ‘advanced ability’

These thoughts come from reading an article comparing summarization skills in L1 and L2:

Yu, G. (2008). Reading to summarize in English and Chinese: A tale of two languages? Language Testing 25 (4), 521-551.

  • Reading comprehension is accepted as a prerequisite skill to summarization (pp. 521-522)
  • Summary skills can be used to improve reading ability (p. 522)
  • Summarization ability is necessary for academic succes (p. 522)
  • Is summarization a reading skill or a writing skill, or both. Perhaps neither, it’s a hybrid subskill (p. 522)
  • There has been a recent revival in integrated reading-writing tasks (p. 523)
  • Summarization skills are more complex and seperate from basic reading skills (p. 524)
  • Students with weaker overall proficiency were more likely to do verbatim copying (p. 525)
  • Students who copied claimed that it was easier since they did not have to understand the meaning of the words/phrases (p. 542, 544-545)
  • Problem-solving strategy use was more common among better summarizers (p. 526)
  • L2 summaries tend to be of poorer quality than L1 summaries, have less important information, and have more false information (p. 527)
  • Although general reading comprehension scores slightly relate to summary writing scores, there is still a great deal of difference between the skills (p. 536, 544)
  • General comprehension reading skills may be very different from the reading skills needed for summaries, and other skills or factors may be involved in summarization ability (p. 544)

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I ran across this very helpful article recently that does with reading and listening comprehension skills that I have been doing with reading-writing subskills.

Song, M-Y. (2009). Do divisible subskills exists in second language (L2) comprehension? A structural equation modeling approach. Language Testing, 25 (4), 435-464.

In essence, the author asks: to what degree does student performance on a test suggest that reading, listening, and 2-3 identified subskills exist as separate constructs (as evidenced by structural equation modeling)? In comparison, I have been trying to identify the degree to which reading comprehension, writing ability, synthesis comprehension, and paraphrase writing ability are all subskills of reading-to-write tasks. So this article provided quite a bit of theoretical framing and technical analysis that I need to further refine my own study. (more…)

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I work with my institution’s international teaching assistant (ITA) program. The program, like those at many universities and colleges in the USA, is designed to provide language and pedagogical training to non-native English speaking graduate students who serve as teaching assistants for their departments.

Last fall, after testing all potential ITAs for oral proficiency training, our program received many concerned calls from departments whose international students did not meet the minimum English language standards to be TAs. In fact, a large number of the students were well below cut-off in the university’s policy regarding ITAs. Departments were concerned that these students needed funding and now they did not qualify to work as TAs due to their oral proficiency. To put it mildly was a very frustrating experience for many stakeholders.

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Here’s another article that I found during the fall, but didn’t get around to formally reviewing until now.

Mateos, M., Martin, E., Villalon, R., & Luna, M. (2008). Reading and writing to learn in secondary education: online processing activity and written products in summarizing and synthesizing tasks. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 21, 675-697.

This article is different from most I have been reading. Rather than deal with L2 learners, it deals with L1 high school students in Spain. The research team explore how these students approach summary and synthesis tasks in terms of processing activities and the quality of the final written products.  My full reaction follows the jump.

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I finally took a moment this afternoon to read through this article that I found at least a couple months ago. It was one of the few cases where my Google Alert actually showed up something useful. In fact, in the last year that I have had that Google Alert, this may have been the ONLY useful link that came through. Even so, I maintain that it was worth it because:

  1. This article came from a journal that I was previously unaware of and would never have thought to browse, and
  2. This article is critically tied to my research topic, and my planned study could be considered the “next step.”

Here’s the full reference citation:

Ascension Delaney, Y. (2008). Investigating the reading-to-write contruct. Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 7, 140-150.

(more…)

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I just finished reading through relevant chapters in:

Leaver, B. L., & Shekhtman, B. (2002). Developing professional-level language proficiency. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

The sections I read were the introduction, first two chapters on theoretical backgrounding, a chapter on writing, and a chapter on the psychology of Superior-Distinguished level learners.

This book moved even further beyond the proficiency scope of the previous language learning book I read; instead of focusing on advanced learners, it discussed educating superior and distinguished level learners. Also, although the previous text focused on literacy, this book discussed language skills more generally (both written and spoken language).

I appreciated reading this book for a number of reasons:

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From Scarcella, Robin (2002). Some key factors affecting English learners’ development of advanced literacy, in Developing advanced literacy in first and second languages (Schleppegrell, M. J. & Colombi, M. C., Eds.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

While navigating the spy-movie-bunker/dungeon that is the university’s library system, I found the above mentioned book. What follows is my summary, critique, and thoughts on how this work relates to my dissertation research.

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