Voice in high-stakes L1 academic writing assessment: Implications for L2 writing instruction

Cecilia Guanfang Zhao, Lorena Llosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Despite the debate among writing researchers about its viability as a pedagogical tool in writing instruction [e.g., Helms-Park, R., & Stapleton, P. (2003). Questioning the importance of individualized voice in undergraduate L2 argumentative writing: An empirical study with pedagogical implications. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12 (3), 245-265; Stapleton, P. (2002). Critiquing voice as a viable pedagogical tool in L2 writing: Returning spotlight to ideas. Journal of Second Language Writing, 11 (3), 177-190], voice remains one of the constructs commonly addressed in learning standards and assessed in high-stakes English Language Arts tests. It is assumed, therefore, that the presence of a strong authorial voice plays an important role in the evaluation of the overall quality of students' writing. In reality, however, there is a critical lack of empirical research that explores the nature and characteristics of the relationship between voice and overall writing quality. The present study builds on and extends the work of Helms-Park and Stapleton [Helms-Park, R., & Stapleton, P. (2003). Questioning the importance of individualized voice in undergraduate L2 argumentative writing: An empirical study with pedagogical implications. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12 (3), 245-265] and examines such a relationship in the context of an L1 high-stakes academic writing assessment. Results show a positive and significant relationship between voice intensity and writing quality, which contradicts what Helms-Park and Stapleton [Helms-Park, R., & Stapleton, P. (2003). Questioning the importance of individualized voice in undergraduate L2 argumentative writing: An empirical study with pedagogical implications. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12 (3), 245-265] found in the context of L2 argumentative writing. This study therefore contributes to the exploration of the role of voice in writing instruction and assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-170
Number of pages18
JournalAssessing Writing
Volume13
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Academic writing
  • High-stakes assessment
  • Secondary level
  • Voice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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