The effects of two metacognitive strategies on intermediate ESL college students' writing

Olga Irene Sanchez-Villamil, Fordham University


The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of two metacognitive strategies--text-structure awareness and awareness of strategic behavior for self-monitoring--within two instructional approaches--the reading/writing interface and process writing--on students' writing products. The study, therefore, crossed foci of instruction and modes of instruction. A second purpose was to analyze students' perceptions about writing after treatment intervention. A panel of readers and raters evaluated students' writing proficiency in English as a Second Language and their acquisition and use of rhetorical modes in their writing products. Students' perceptions on writing were measured by a posttreatment questionnaire. The study did not show any significant differences between the mean scores of students' writing narrative and expository texts in either the Reading/Writing Interface and Writing Process treatments as assessed in holistic evaluations. Likewise, there was no significant difference in the mean scores of pattern evaluation in either treatment. Although there were slightly higher means for both the holistic and pattern evaluations for the Reading/Writing Interface in the narrative task, results were not statistically significant. However, this finding suggests that sample readings have a certain effect on students' writing in this genre. Results also showed that although not significant, the Writing Process treatment yielded higher mean scores for both the holistic and pattern evaluations in the expository task. Higher scores for the Writing Process treatment on holistic and pattern evaluations of the expository task may suggest that the manipulation and transformation of material proves to be more effective than reading models for this particular genre. This is a very important finding because it suggests that mode of instruction affects focus of instruction. Similar high performance of both treatment groups in holistic and pattern evaluations may have been due to the use of rational heuristics or criteria-guided revision. Guided revision within both treatments appeared to have affected the composing process and to have helped students develop better understanding of discourse knowledge. Therefore, it could have influenced the selection of content as well as the development and arrangement of ideas. Both treatments showed similar mean scores on 12 out of 13 questionnaire items about students' perceptions on writing after treatment intervention, suggesting that students responded favorably to most aspects in each treatment. Questionnaire item 10 was the only one which yielded a statistically significant difference. This finding suggests that students reacted more favorably to writing writer-based prose and converting it to reader-based prose than they did when confronted with reader-based prose in the reading models.

Subject Area

Language arts|Literacy|Reading instruction|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

Sanchez-Villamil, Olga Irene, "The effects of two metacognitive strategies on intermediate ESL college students' writing" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9123133.