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Fluency and accuracy levels in writing of Grade 12 ESL learners

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This study investigated two aspects of the level of second language development achieved by Grade 12 English Second Language (ESL) learners in South Africa. It was inspired by the general concern about standards in the matriculation examination and calls for the improvement of ESL teaching and learning. The study involved an investigation and description of the fluency and accuracy levels of Grade 12 learners. We focussed on writing, since it is generally accepted that characteristic patterns of advanced learners are best studied in written production. 216 compositions were analysed in terms of T-units, and fluency and accuracy frequencies and ratios were calculated. Results show that fluency ratios (W/T and W/EFT) and an accuracy ratio (EFT/T) paint a poor picture of learners’ performance in writing, and suggest that Grade 12 ESL learners are ill-prepared for tertiary study. Better control of morphology and syntax is required, as this will lead to a general improvement of fluency and accuracy levels in ESL.
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Per Linguam 2007 23(2):15-28
http://dx.doi.org/10.5785/23-2-53
JL van der Walt & K Hattingh
FLUENCY AND ACCURACY LEVELS IN WRITING OF GRADE 12
ESL LEARNERS
Johann L. van der Walt & Karien Hattingh
North-West University
___________________________________________________________________________
This study investigated two aspects of the level of second language development achieved by
Grade 12 English Second Language (ESL) learners in South Africa. It was inspired by the
general concern about standards in the matriculation examination and calls for the
improvement of ESL teaching and learning. The study involved an investigation and
description of the fluency and accuracy levels of Grade 12 learners. We focussed on writing,
since it is generally accepted that characteristic patterns of advanced learners are best
studied in written production. 216 compositions were analysed in terms of T-units, and
fluency and accuracy frequencies and ratios were calculated. Results show that fluency ratios
(W/T and W/EFT) and an accuracy ratio (EFT/T) paint a poor picture of learners’
performance in writing, and suggest that Grade 12 ESL learners are ill-prepared for tertiary
study. Better control of morphology and syntax is required, as this will lead to a general
improvement of fluency and accuracy levels in ESL.
Keywords
fluency; accuracy; English as a second language; writing; high school learners
INTRODUCTION
There seems to be a widespread concern about the standard of English Second Language in
South African schools, and there have been numerous calls for the improvement of English
teaching and learning. For example, in a reaction to matriculation results, the executive
officer of the South African certification council, Umalusi, has called for a national strategy
to be implemented in an attempt to improve standards of English. She stated that the
challenge for schools to improve the national standard of English was even tougher than
improving standards in Mathematics and Science (Beeld, 8 September, 2004). Some learners
are virtually illiterate in the matriculation year (Beeld, 9 September 2004). The problem that
we face is that learners emerge from secondary schools with deeply ingrained and very faulty
interlanguages.
JL van der Walt & K Hattingh
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Not much data from a developmental perspective are available on the level of development of
learners of English as a second language (ESL) in South Africa. In theory, a Grade 12 learner
should be at an advanced level after 12 years of learning English and, in the majority of
schools, tuition through the medium of English. One would have to question, however, what
„advanced‟ means in the South African context. What level of syntactic development have
Grade 12 ESL learners reached? How fluent and accurate are they in English syntax? The
purpose of this article is to describe the fluency and accuracy levels of Grade 12 ESL learners
from a Second Language Acquisition perspective. We focus on writing only, as it is generally
accepted that the characteristic patterns of advanced learners are best studied in written
production (Lorenz 1999: 11).
INTERLANGUAGE AND LEVELS OF DEVELOPMENT
It is now generally accepted that the second language learner possesses a „built-in‟ syllabus,
or an internal programmed sequence for learning different aspects of the target language
(Gass & Selinker, 2001: 112). Second language development is regarded as consisting of a
continually evolving system which takes the learner further from the source system (L1) and
closer to the target system (L2). These learner-based systems process input from the target
language in small processable doses, and form an interlanguage which is somewhere between
the learner‟s L1 and the target language. Learners pass through stages en route to the target
language rule, and thus follow a developmental pattern of acquisition (Ellis 1994: 73; Saville-
Troike, 2006: 44). They reach a particular stage or level of acquisition before moving on to
the next level.
While few learners achieve native-like proficiency (many merely fossilise at a particular level
and do not progress any further), every learner reaches a certain level in the developmental
continuum. This is often referred to in terms such as intermediate, upper-intermediate and
advanced. Harmer (2004: 44) says that the problem with these labels is that they mean
different things to different people, as there are no standard definitions of them. It is
especially difficult to define what the advanced level means. The advanced learner should be
able to function most of the time at sentence level (i.e. his interlanguage is more developed
than that of the intermediate student, who still has to exercise most of his choices at word or
even morpheme level because his knowledge of the grammar cannot be recalled
automatically). Learners are able to handle larger units successfully only after automatising
the rules and restrictions governing smaller units.
In this article we report on Grade 12 ESL learners‟ development in English and determine
their collective level of syntactic development.
FLUENCY AND ACCURACY IN WRITING
Learners‟ interlanguage development can be expressed in terms of their levels of fluency and
accuracy in the second language (Fulcher & Davidson, 2007: 8). Both fluency and accuracy
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Per Linguam 2007 23(2):15-28
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are essential measures in the assessment of a learner‟s proficiency in a second language, and
are core criteria used in rating scales (cf. Fulcher, 2003; Hawkey & Barker, 2004).
Fluency is difficult to define, although it is a common term in language teaching and testing
and has been in use for a long time (Fulcher & Davidson, 2007: 7). Fillmore (1979: 93)
identifies four different kinds of fluency: the ability to produce language rapidly; coherently
and densely; appropriately; and creatively. He states that „the maximally gifted wielder of
language is somebody who has all these abilities‟. Brumfit (1984: 54) points out that, with the
exception of the first, they all require capacities that we recognise in people who are not
linguistically fluent. The first quality, rapidity, refers to the quantity of production, which in
terms of the present discussion refers to the ability to write without significant pauses for an
extended period. Lennon (1990: 387) adopts this narrow sense of fluency, and defines it as
the rate and length of output. Wolfe-Quintero, Inagaki and Kim (1998: 14) adopt the same
approach and state that fluency in writing means that more words and more structures are
accessed in a limited time, whereas a lack of fluency means that only a few words or
structures are accessed. Fluency is therefore a measure of the sheer number of words or
structural units a writer is able to include in their writing within a particular period of time.
Accuracy in morpho-syntactic usage is a general requirement in language teaching, although
there has been a tendency in recent years to neglect it because of the emphasis on
communicative ability. Writing requires higher levels of accuracy than spoken language.
Accuracy level depends on a learner‟s linguistic competence, i.e. the degree of accuracy of
the language representation itself, the strength of interference from the L1 or earlier stages of
L2 development, and the degree of automatization that has taken place. The goal is to
produce as few errors as possible. Accuracy can therefore be defined as “freedom from
error”, or comparison with target-like language usage.
The above definitions are adopted for the purposes of this article.
MEASURING FLUENCY AND ACCURACY IN WRITING
Fluency and accuracy in writing can be measured by means of length and error (Wolfe-
Quintero et al., 1998). This is based on a straightforward premise, viz. that learners with high
proficiency would write longer pieces, with fewer errors, than less proficient ones. A central
question in this regard is: which production unit should be analysed? The sentence is the
obvious choice, but proves to be problematic in practice, as it is not always easy to identify it
in second-language writing learners often produce many ands, use run-on sentences, and do
not make use of punctuation.
Gass and Selinker (2001: 50) suggest that the T-unit (originally proposed for the analysis of
first language learning by Hunt in 1965) is a more precise measure of syntactic development
in a language, and it has been used in a number of learner studies. It has also been used for
the analysis of the language of students with learning disabilities (e.g. Englert & Dunsmore,
2007). A T-unit consists of a main clause, together with any clauses that are attached to or
embedded in the main clause. It is formally defined as “one main clause, plus any subordinate
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clauses or non-clausal structure that is attached to or embedded in it” (Hunt, 1970: 4). Each
unit should be able to function as a complete grammatically correct sentence on its own if
punctuated like a sentence (started with a capital letter and ended with a full stop). Gass and
Selinker (2001: 50) illustrate the identification of T-units as follows:
John woke up.
John woke up, although he was tired.
although he was tired.
The first two are T-units, while the third is not. The definition of a T-unit was adapted for use
with non-native speakers by modifying its definition to incorporate the notion of error-free T-
units rather than just T-units (Gass & Selinker, 2001: 50). The first language of the learner
plays no role in T-unit analysis. It therefore does not discriminate on the basis of the native
language. A large number of studies (cf. Wolfe-Quintero et al., 1998, for a review) since the
1970s have confirmed that it is a reliable measure of syntactic development in a second
language, and it has been used to establish different levels of syntactic development. For
example, students produce more error-free T-units as they develop, both orally and in
writing. T-units are widely used because they are easy to identify and are relatively low-
inference categories (Mackey & Gass, 2005: 232). While T-unit analysis does not provide
information on the discourse-functional aspects of learner writing, it provides important
insights into their syntactic development (Grabe & Kaplan, 1997: 46).
METHOD OF RESEARCH
A sample of 216 compositions produced by Grade 12 ESL learners from six South African
provinces was analysed. (A number of compositions could not be analysed because they
proved to be incomprehensible.) There were 112 Higher Grade and 104 Standard Grade
compositions. The compositions were sent in for moderation to one of the authors after the
matriculation examination in 2003. They were randomly selected by the provincial
departments of education. Permission was obtained from these departments to analyse the
language of the compositions for purposes of research. The six provinces were randomly
selected from the nine ones. The compositions were written by learners from various first
language backgrounds. They were required to write 250-300 words.
Compositions were coded and divided into one of five groups. The division was made
according to the mark attributed to each essay by the marker. This mark was allocated in
terms of both language and content. This is indicated in Table 1.
Table 1: Division of compositions
Group
Category
% range
1
2
3
4
5
Poor
Fair
Average
Good
Excellent
0-19
20-39
40-59
60-79
80-100
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The marks allocated varied from 0 to 39 out of 40. The average mark was 19.43 out of 40 or
48.6%. We infer that the progression reflected in Table 1 indicates degrees of proficiency in
written English.
The compositions were analysed for length and error. We first divided them into T-units, and
then distinguished between error-free and error T-units. Our focus was on grammatical
accuracy only, and spelling and punctuation errors were ignored. Each T-unit was considered
in its context when errors in it were determined. For example, pronouns had to be correct in
the context of a paragraph. Two researchers conducted the analyses to ensure the reliability of
the results, and very little variation between them was found. The following is an example of
the analysis:
Being a single parent it good expeciolly when you are having Job.<T> You
can enjoy that part<T><EFT> because you know that you do everything by
yourself without asking for help. <T><EFT> Parent who are facing that
situation can be a mother or a father,<T> they must tel themselves thay are
not gonna let their children safer like that for their circumstances
quencequences. <T> And again it can be difficult to other parent expesially
when you are not working to much of a burden for them.<T> They are trying
to do their best.<T><EFT>
We used a number of measures to determine fluency and accuracy frequencies and ratios.
They have all been confirmed as valid measures of development in a second language, as
they correlate well with proficiency (cf. Wolfe-Quintero et al., 1998; Lee, 2005). Frequencies
involve a count of a particular feature or unit, and (only) provide an overall picture of usage
patterns. A ratio measure, in which the presence of one type of unit is divided by the total
number of comparable units, is the best type of measure, as it contains a fixed delimiter.
Ratios are used to measure the length of a given unit or the rate of accuracy within a given
unit (Wolfe-Quintero et al., 1998: 10). The following calculations were done:
Fluency frequencies: Average number of words per composition (W) and average
number of T-Units (T);
Fluency ratios: Average number of words per T-unit (W/T) and average number of
words per Error-Free T-unit (W/EFT);
Accuracy frequency: Average number of Error-Free T-units per composition (EFT);
Accuracy ratio: Average number of Error-Free T-units per T-unit (EFT/T).
Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests (cf. Seliger & Shohamy, 1989: 234-235; Hatch &
Farhady, 1982: 129) were conducted for each of the measures, followed by a multiple
comparison using the method proposed by Tukey (cf. Miller, 1981: 37-48). Both these tests
were conducted at a 5% level of significance.
RESULTS: FLUENCY MEASURES
The results of the fluency frequency measures are presented in Tables 2 and 3. Table 2
presents the results for the average composition length (W) for each group.
JL van der Walt & K Hattingh
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Candidates who exceeded the required length mostly wrote between 350 and 410 words. One
composition was exceptional it was 815 words, written by a Standard Grade learner. The
second longest essay, also a SG one, consisted of 572 words. The table shows a steady
increase in length from Groups 1 to 3 and 5, with Group 4 showing a slight decrease. An
analysis of variance test indicated that F (4; 211) = 6.44 with p< 0.0001. Table 2 also reports
the results for the Tukey test comparing the mean lengths of compositions over the groups.
Groups with the same superscript letters do not differ significantly. The mean length of
compositions distinguishes Group 5 from all the other groups. Group 4 is not distinguished
from Groups 3, 2 and 1. Groups 3 and 2 do not differ significantly, but Groups 2 and 3 are
significantly different from Groups 1 and 5. Composition length generally gives an indication
of whether one can expect a composition to be poor, average or very good, but there are
exceptions to this.
Table 2: The average number of words per composition as calculated for groups
Group
N
Standard Deviation
Coefficient of Variance
1
2
3
4
5
29
57
64
48
18
88.33
83.01
97.2
56.88
86.05
39.76
29.66
33.84
21.36
25.03
Table 3 indicates the average number of T-units per composition (T) for the five groups.
Table 3: Average number of T-Units per composition
Group
N
Mean
Standard Deviation
Coefficient of variance
1
2
3
4
5
29
57
64
48
18
23.76b
29.91ab
29.19ab
26.85ab
30.83a
9.06
10.18
9.80
7.28
10.56
38.14
34.04
33.58
27.09
34.24
There is an increasing trend for non-adjacent groups. There were no significant statistical
differences between the groups for the number of T-units as shown by the results of the
Tukey test. Only Groups 1 and 5 differ significantly.
Fluency ratios are indicated in Tables 4 and 5. Table 4 indicates the average number of words
per T-unit (W/T) for the five groups.
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Table 4: Average number of words per T-unit as calculated for consecutive groups
Group
N
Mean
Standard Deviation
Coefficient of Variance
1
2
3
4
5
29
57
64
48
18
9.64b
9.86b
10.18b
10.36b
11.85a
2.62
2.53
2.54
2.24
3.70
27.20
25.69
24.92
21.58
31.18
Although the results for the groups are closely clustered together, the average number of
words per T-unit increases for each consecutive group. All five groups produced what Hunt
(1965) refers to as mid-length T-units, and not full-length ones, with an average of 10.38. An
analysis of variance test resulted in F (4; 211) = 2.92 with p<0.0224. Tukey‟s Studentized
Test was conducted in order to see whether any of the groups‟ results differed significantly.
The mean length of T-units per composition distinguishes only Group 5 significantly from all
the groups. Groups 1 to 4 do not differ significantly.
Table 5 reports the number of words per composition in error-free T-units (W/EFT).
Table 5: The number of words in EFTs as calculated for groups
Group
N
Mean
Standard Deviation
Coefficient of Variance
1
2
3
4
5
29
57
64
48
18
6.19d
7.96cd
8.51bc
9.05b
10.76a
3.43
2.99
2.05
2.60
2.89
55.45
37.59
24.03
28.74
26.86
The average W/EFT was 8.49. An ANOVA resulted in F (4; 211) = 9.32, which is
statistically significant, with p< 0.0001. According to the results of the Tukey test, the
number of words per error-free T-units discriminates well between Groups 1, 3 and 5, i.e.
non-adjacent groups, but not between adjacent groups.
DISCUSSION
It is generally accepted that more developed learners write longer compositions (cf. Larsen-
Freeman & Strom, 1977; Hawkey & Barker, 2004). Learners who write longer compositions
on average score higher marks. Learners who are more proficient are generally more self-
confident, show a better command of syntax and have a wider range of vocabulary and
consequently write longer compositions. The results show a clear increase in the average
number of words per composition for consecutive groups, with the exception of Group 4.
The weakest group (Group 1) wrote an average of 222.14 words per essay, which is much
shorter than was required. The averages of Groups 2 to 4 are within the required length;
between 250 and 300 words per composition. Students in Group 5 wrote longer compositions
than were required, with an average of 343.3 words per composition.
JL van der Walt & K Hattingh
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The average T-unit length (W/T) is an important measure in both L1 and L2 acquisition. A
number of studies (e.g. Larsen-Freeman, 1983; Homburg, 1984; Bardovi-Harlig & Bofman,
1989) have shown that it is a good indicator of syntactic development. Academic writing on
average contains 20 words per T-unit (Thompson, 2003). The average here of 10.38 words
(Table 4) indicates that these Grade 12 learners are ill-prepared for tertiary study. Even the
excellent group (Group 5), which can be expected to go on to university, falls far short of this
norm. The words per error-free T-unit ratio (W/EFT) (Table 5), with an average of 8.49,
indicates an increasing trend, ranging from 6.19 to 10.76. This can only be regarded as an
average achievement.
Table 6 provides a comparison of means on fluency measures of a number of studies dating
back to the 1970s. A direct comparison of our data with the others is not possible, because
length of exposure to and study of English differ greatly, but the table gives an indication of
the relative fluency in writing of the different groups. The table indicates a general norm of
13 to 17 words per T-unit, and 9 to 13 words per error-free T-unit at advanced levels. The
South African learners‟ performance of 10.39 and 8.49 respectively indicates a generally
poor fluency performance.
Table 6: Comparison of means on fluency measures
Study
Learners
Level
W/T
W/EFT
Cooper 1976
L1 English
Students learning
German at university
& native speakers
Sophomores
Juniors
Seniors
Graduates
Natives
10.3
12.6
15.2
16.9
23.00
Hirano 1991
Japanese students
learning English
at university
at three levels
Low
Mid
High
8.88
10.00
12.64
5.95
7.64
9.38
Ho-Peng 1983
Various
L1 groups
learning English
at university
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
13.40
16.26
16.47
7.74
13.64
16.01
Larsen-Freeman
1978
Various
L1 groups
learning English
at university
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
12.02
13.72
15.23
15.25
15.67
4.61
7.25
9.26
10.77
13.20
Larsen-Freeman
1983
Various
L1 groups
learning English at
high intermediate level
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
13.73
17.11
17.21
8.36
12.61
11.36
Yau 1991
Chinese
students learning
English at high school
ESL Grade 9
ESL Grade 13
10.82
15.54
Van der Walt &
Hattingh
Grade
12 ESL learners
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
9.64
9.86
10.18
10.36
11.85
6.19
7.96
8.51
9.05
10.76
JL van der Walt & K Hattingh
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While English is studied as a second language for twelve years and used as medium of
instruction in the majority of our schools, the other learners referred to in the table studied a
foreign language, to which they had limited exposure, and which they studied for a relatively
short time. Our average of 10.39 words per T-unit does not compare well with Cooper‟s
(1976) (admittedly dated) native speaker norm of 23 words per T-unit, or with the average of
20 words per T-unit for academic writing (Thompson, 2003).
RESULTS: ACCURACY MEASURES
Table 7 indicates the number of error-free T-units (EFTs) per composition.
Table 7: The number error-free T-units per composition as calculated for each group
Group
N
Mean
Standard Deviation
Coefficient of Variance
1
2
3
4
5
29
57
64
48
18
4.93
9.84
11.23
13.69
21.89
4.64
6.39
6.10
6.78
9.57
94.02
64.97
54.27
49.53
43.70
The average EFTs is 12.32. There is a clear linear trend toward a higher number of error-free
T-units. The table indicates that learners in Group 5 not only write longer T-units, but also do
so with fewer errors. An analysis of variance test showed the results to be statistically
significant with F (4; 211) = 21, 76 and p < 0.0001.
An accuracy ratio (EFT/T) provides a good indication of the level of the syntactic
development of Grade 12 learners (cf. Table 8).
Table 8: Accuracy ratio (EFT/T)
Group
N
Ratio
Standard Deviation
Coefficient of Variance
1
2
3
4
5
29
57
64
48
18
.21d
.34c
.40bc
.51b
.70a
18.85
21.51
18.04
22.24
12.04
89.49
62.72
45.00
43.56
17.26
The average EFT/T is .43. The multiple comparisons of the Tukey test distinguished Group 5
from all the other groups. Groups 4 and 3 do not differ significantly. However, Groups 5, 3
and 1 are distinguished clearly. According to these results, the EFT ratio discriminates well
between non-adjacent groups, but not between adjacent groups.
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DISCUSSION
Although length may be a satisfactory indicator of increasing proficiency, it alone is not a
sufficient measure of L2 acquisition. Structural errors in language should also be taken into
account, as they indicate a lack of syntactic control. Longer T-units tend to be more complex
and learners can more readily produce errors. It is easier to make errors when writing longer,
more complex structures than when writing short and simple ones. Results for the number of
error-free T-units (EFTs) show an upward linear trend for consecutive groups, ranging from a
very low 4.93 to a high of 21.89, with an average of 12.32. The error-free T-unit ratio
(EFT/T) ranges from 0.21 to 0.7 (Table 8), with an average of .43. These data indicate the
wide range of proficiencies in Grade 12 English Second Language, with some learners
performing very poorly, and an average accuracy level which cannot be regarded as
acceptable.
Table 9: Comparison of means on accuracy measures
Study
Learners
Level
EFT
EFT/T
Hirano 1991
Japanese students
learning English
at university
at three levels
Low
Mid
High
2.10
3.88
5.06
.15
.23
.33
Larsen-Freeman
1978
Various
L1 groups
learning English
at university
Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
.11
.19
.22
.34
.50
Larsen-Freeman
1983
Various
L1 groups
learning English at
high inter-mediate
level
at university
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
.42
.43
.38
Lee 2005
Various
L1 groups
learning Japanese
at university
& native speakers
Learners
Native
speakers
.58
.95
Van der Walt &
Hattingh
Grade 12 ESL
learners
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
4.93
9.84
11.23
13.69
21.89
.21
.34
.40
.50
.70
A direct comparison of means on accuracy measures with other studies is not possible, but Table
9 provides an indication of the relative accuracy levels of different groups that studied foreign
(not second) languages at university.
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25
Little comparative data for EFTs are available, but South African learners do not seem to fare
badly on this measure with an average of 12.32 when compared with Hirano‟s (1991) foreign
language learning data. The general norm for EFT/T seems to be between 0.3 and 0.6; with our
average .43 we are towards the lower end of the scale. Lee‟s (2005) native speaker norm of 0.95
for EFT/T indicates that our learners fall rather short, with the best ones achieving only 0.7.
CONCLUSION
The results of the study are in line with expectations: learners of English as a second language at
a higher level of syntactic development tend to write longer essays than those at lower levels;
they write more T-units per composition; consecutive groups write longer T-units, but all of them
produce only mid-length T-units. As learners progress, they tend to produce more correct (error-
free) T-units. Both the average number of words per T-unit and the T-unit accuracy ratio show
that the more advanced learners become, the longer correct T-units grow, and they produce on
average more words per error-free T-unit. In other words, they use more words correctly in T-
units than incorrectly. However, the ratios for W/T and W/EFT are disappointing. The W/T of the
better South African learners fall within the 10.18-11.85 range, compared to academic writing
that typically contains 20 W/T. The overall accuracy ratio W/EFT is at the low end. The average
of 0.43 is far from the native norm of 0.95, indicating relatively poor accuracy levels in the
second language.
The picture that emerges is not very encouraging. There is clearly room for improvement in both
fluency and accuracy. Most learners cannot access sufficient words and structures in a limited
time, and they make numerous errors. Spelling also seems to be a problem because, as pointed
out above, we could not take spelling errors into account in our analysis. These learners do not
seem to be adequately equipped for tertiary study, where academic writing ability is a major
requirement. The wide gap between poor and excellent groups is particularly worrying, as both
need to follow the same curriculum and write the same examination. We also found that there are
learners who border on the illiterate in the matriculation year.
We feel that there are at least three reasons for the poor performance in English of South African
learners. First, the teaching of grammar is either neglected or of a poor standard. Formal
instruction in grammar, within a communicative framework, has emerged as an acceptable and
recommended procedure that can speed up the acquisition of the second language. Second,
teachers‟ own command of grammar may not be of the required standard (cf. Mafisa & Van der
Walt, 2002). Third, teaching and learning in many South African schools is generally of a low
standard, as indicated in a recent report of the South African Human Rights Commission (2006).
It is clear that the teaching and the learning of ESL need to be improved, especially that of
morphology and syntax in writing. Such an improvement is likely to lead to a general
improvement in the fluency and accuracy in writing of ESL learners in South Africa.
JL van der Walt & K Hattingh
Per Linguam 2007 23(2):15-28
http://dx.doi.org/10.5785/23-2-53
26
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BIOGRAPHIC NOTE
Johann L van der Walt is head of the Centre for Academic and Professional Language Practice and Professor of
English at the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University. He specialises in course design, second language
teaching, testing and acquisition. Email: Johann.VanderWalt@nwu.ac.za
Karien Hattingh is a lecturer in English at the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University. She specialises in
second language acquisition and language assessment.
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