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The role of working memory in young second language learners’ written performances

Published on Sep 1, 2019in Journal of Second Language Writing 4.20
· DOI :10.1016/j.jslw.2019.03.002
Marije Michel , Judit Kormos24
Estimated H-index: 24
+ 1 AuthorsMichael Ratajczak1
Estimated H-index: 1
This study investigated the role of working memory (WM) in the second language (L2) writing performance of young English language learners. It also examined how L2 writing achievement relates to task type and grade level and whether the effect of cognitive abilities varies across different task types and grade level. The participants were 94 young learners (Grades 6 and 7) in Hungary, who performed four writing task types as part of the TOEFL® Junior™ Comprehensive test-battery and completed cognitive tests that assessed their WM functions. Participants scored high on the email writing and integrated Listen-Write tasks. Irrespective of WM functions, on average learners in Grade 7 outperformed those in Grade 6 on the Listen-Write task and the Email task. Students gained lower scores on the non-academic version of an editing task than on most other types of tasks. WM functions had no significant relationship with L2 writing scores, except for the academic editing task. In Grade 7, the effect of WM was not significant on the integrated Listen-Write task, but it resulted in the change of expected score. Learners with high working memory in Grade 6 showed somewhat more consistent performance across tasks than did learners with low working memory.
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Published on Jan 1, 2019in Studies in Second Language Acquisition 2.60
Andrea Révész13
Estimated H-index: 13
(UCL: University College London),
Marije Michel6
Estimated H-index: 6
MinJin Lee1
Estimated H-index: 1
(UCL: University College London)
This study investigated the cognitive processes underlying pauses at different textual locations (e.g., within/between words) and various levels of revision (e.g., below word/clause). We used stimulated recall, keystroke logging and eye-tracking methodology in combination to examine pausing and revision behaviors. Thirty advanced Chinese L2 users of English performed a version of the IELTS Academic Writing Task 2. During the writing task, participants' key strokes were logged and their eye-movem...
2 Citations
Published on Mar 1, 2018in Journal of Second Language Writing 4.20
Abstract The present study examined German and English writing skills of children who attended a partial German-English immersion program in a primary school in Germany. From Year 3 to Year 4 the children’ writing improved from level A1 to level A2 (according to the Common European Framework of References, Council of Europe, 2001) in the English writing test, and they obtained age-appropriate values in the German writing test in Years 3 and 4. The writing test conducted in Year 3 turned out to b...
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Published on Oct 1, 2017in Assessing Writing 1.84
Daniel R. Isbell2
Estimated H-index: 2
(MSU: Michigan State University)
Abstract Differentiating between advanced L2 writers at the higher levels of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) presents a challenge in assessment. The distinction between descriptors at the C1 and C2 levels are fine-grained, and even native speakers of a language may not consistently achieve them. At the same time, the CEFR has generally been conceived with the language abilities and contexts of use of adults in mind, thus making CEFR-based interpretations of young language learn...
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Published on Sep 1, 2017in TESOL Quarterly 2.72
Yuko Goto Butler18
Estimated H-index: 18
(UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)
Young learners (defined as children ages 5–12) of English as a foreign language are growing in number worldwide. At the policy level, foreign language (FL) programs for young learners are increasingly emphasizing the use of task-based language teaching (TBLT). In practice, however, designing and implementing tasks for young learners poses numerous challenges, especially considering that young learners are in the midst of developing cognitively, socially, linguistically, and affectively. In this ...
4 Citations Source Cite
Published on Sep 1, 2017in Journal of Second Language Writing 4.20
Mark D. Johnson3
Estimated H-index: 3
(ECU: East Carolina University)
Abstract This study, a research synthesis and quantitative meta-analysis, contributes to recent L2 writing research on task complexity and its impact on the syntactic complexity, accuracy, lexical complexity, and fluency (CALF) of written L2 production. Through a systematic analysis of task-based L2 writing research from 1998 to the present, the study aimed to better understand (a) how task complexity has been manipulated in previous research, (b) the range of metrics used in previous research t...
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Published on Jun 1, 2017in The Modern Language Journal 3.76
Janire Zalbidea1
Estimated H-index: 1
(Georgetown University)
The present study explores the independent and interactive effects of task complexity and task modality on linguistic dimensions of second language (L2) performance and investigates how these effects are modulated by individual differences in working memory capacity. Thirty-two intermediate learners of L2 Spanish completed less and more complex versions of the same type of argumentative task in the speaking and writing modalities. Perceived complexity questionnaires were administered as measures...
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Published on May 15, 2017in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 2.70
Bimali Indrarathne3
Estimated H-index: 3
Judit Kormos24
Estimated H-index: 24
(Lancaster University)
Our study investigated how attention paid to a target syntactic construction causative had is related to the storage capacity and attention regulation function of working memory (WM) and how these WM abilities moderate the change of knowledge of the target construction in different input conditions. 80 Sri Lankan learners of English were exposed to examples of the target construction in explicit and implicit learning conditions and their eye movements were tracked as they read the input. Correla...
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Published on Dec 8, 2016
Judit Kormos24
Estimated H-index: 24
The Second Language Learning Processes of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties is the only recent book available to offer a detailed and in-depth discussion of the second language learning processes of students with specific learning difficulties (SpLDs). It summarizes research advances in the fields of cognitive andeducational psychology and integrates them with recent studies in the area of second language acquisition (SLA). Thus the book is relevant not only to readers who are particu...
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