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Article Response Paper Huang, Jinyan. (2009) "Factors affecting the assessment of ESL students' writing. Main Issues/Points Discussed in Article The author of the article seeks to bring out facts related to factors affecting the assessment of ESL student’s writing…
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Download file to see previous pages The problems of the ESL students are mainly at the sentence level. Their writing problems are different as compared to the students of native speakers. It begins at the word and sentence levels. They face difficulties in every component of the sentence, and with spelling, grammar and word usage. The essential difference between the native speakers and ESL students is that the former can speak English correctly, as such they can also write correctly. The latter have skills in their native language. They have ideas but their issues relate to the use of appropriate words and grammatical errors confront them. Personal observations/comments On close examination of the article, I realized the importance of the rater and the challenges the ESL students have to face in reading or writing in English. They have problems in several segments of life, and racial segregation overrides all other considerations. Low self-efficacy, financial difficulties, separation from immediate family members and friends, highly different cultural environment, all these contribute to the problems related to assimilation in the mainstream society. Student behavior in classroom in America differs much and the discipline is loose. They can come late to the class, question teachers, cut jokes and this type of behavior is not accepted in the Chines classrooms. Their main difficulties are in the areas of form, morphology, terminology and syntax which vary from their native language. They may have ideas but lack expression; as such the audience may not be able to follow the contents. The difficulties for acquisition of skills in writing differ for various cultural groups of ESL students. Before reading the article I used to consider the problem of the ESL student’s writing in isolation. On the strength of the various issues mentioned in the article, I now realize that it is but one of the multifarious problems faced by the student and the improved ability of the student in writing may address to partial solution of some of those issues. ESL students are a heterogeneous lot. Much difference exists even when the students are from the same country as they belong to different States/Regions, where slang, tradition and culture differ. With such varied cultural and linguistic backgrounds the assessment of their English writing is beset with problems. Some sort of reconciliation will have to be worked out to arrive at an authentic solution, as it concerns the career of the combustible younger generation. In a competitive job market, each mark, each recommendation counts. So, the rater may build or break the career of an ESL student, unintentionally though, with the deficient system of rating. The author is aware of this complexity and has mentioned twenty reviews and given details of those empirical studies as for the factors affecting rating of ESL writing in North American school contexts, segregating them as rater-related and task-related and has highlighted their important components. These factors are not exclusive and research on the subject is a continual process and the author has informed that in the light of the experience gained, gaps and proposed directions for future research have been identified. The author emphasizes a number of times in the article that assessment of writing is the problematic area for which no cut and dry formula cannot be submitted as the final word on the subject. He quotes Speck and Jones (1998), “there are more problems than solutions -problems of inter-grader ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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