Investigating the writing proficiency of preservice English as a Second Language teachers: Making use of distinguishing features
Abstract:This research aims to investigate the writing proficiency of Hong Kong pre-service ESL teachers, in particular how their writing proficiency differs as characterized by distinguishing features inherent in such teachers’ writing performances. Over 120 pre-service ESL teachers from various programmes in local universities in Hong Kong were recruited for the study. Results showed that the higher their writing level, the better they performed in a set task as well as in grammatical range and accuracy. The different programmes they enrolled in could affect the number of cohesive devices they tended to use. Mode and years of study had an effect on task achievement and number of cohesive device. Pre-service teachers enrolled in the teacher training programmes on a parttime basis outperformed those enrolled on a fulltime basis. Teachers with more teacher training outperformed newly admitted pre-service teachers. The results of this study could provide empirical evidence for identifying different levels of writing proficiency for Hong Kong pre-service ESL teachers. On this basis, the link between the writing proficiency of pre-service ESL teachers and their assessment of student scripts could be subsequently established in a follow-up study to explore their differences in scoring focuses and strategies when scoring students’ writings. This could further contribute to teacher evaluation, teacher training concerning language proficiency, and the improvement of teachers’ assessment literacy in high-stakes and L2 classroom writing assessment.
Key words:teacher training; language assessment; distinguishing features