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Cognitive Components of Writing in a Second Language: An Analysis with the Linear Logistic Test Model

January, 1970

Article Type: Research Article

Journal Name: Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling

Issue: | Volume: 63 | Page No:


Writing in a second/foreign language (L2) is a demanding task for L2 writers because it calls for multiple language abilities and (meta)cognitive knowledge. Research investigating the (meta)cog-nitive processes involved in composing in L2 have emphasized the complex and multidimensional nature of L2 writing with many underlying (meta)cognitive components. However, it is still unclear what factors or components are involved in composing in L2. Employing correlational and qualitative approaches and through the modeling of L2 writing proficiency, previous studies could not offer adequate evidence for the exact nature of such components. This study aimed at examining the underlying cognitive operations of L2 writing performance using an IRT-based cognitive processing model known as linear logistic test model (LLTM). To achieve this, the performance of 500 English as a foreign language (EFL) students on a writing task was analyzed. Five cognitive processes underlying L2 writing were postulated: content fulfillment, organizational effectiveness, grammatical knowledge, vocabulary use, and mechanics. The results of the likelihood ratio test showed that the Rasch model fits significantly better than the LLTM. The correlation coefficient between LLTM and Rasch model item parameters was .85 indicating that about 72 % of variance in item difficulties can be explained by the five postulated cognitive operations. LLTM analyses also revealed that vocabulary and content are the most difficult processes to use and grammar is the easiest. More importantly, the results showed that it is possible to envisage a model for L2 writing with r