An Analytical Assessment of the Performance of EFL University Students in Essay Writing
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Writing is a complex linguistic ability that needs years of practice in order to be mastered. As a matter of fact, it is an ability that can never be fully acquired. Its acquisition involves a series of cognitive processes and socio-linguistic factors. Actually, writing may be considered an extension and reflection of one’s interests, knowledge and perspectives, which are transcribed into words to keep them in the permanent mind across time. Since 1970, the writing process has been of major concern for the academic field, considering the growing status of writing not only as a way of practicing other abilities, but as an independent skill of communication. Within the same field, universities have given an increasingly important role to written activities, using exams and papers in order to measure the students’ writing competence for a variety of purposes, such as assessment, evaluation and as a tool to choose possible candidates to enter these institutions. The latter has led to the development of different types of tests which reflect the student’s capability in English as a second language. This research aims at the presentation of important aspects about the writing process, placing emphasis on English as a second language, and a study of 4th year students of Linguistics of the University of Chile in essay writing, in order to, first, cover the aspects evaluators might consider when assessing writing, and second, the results this kind of study may offer.
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