Chapter 9. Comparing progress in academic writing after formal instruction and study abroad
In this chapter, we consider progress in the domain of academic writing by 73 advanced-level EFL learners within the SALA Project. We compare their essays before and after a 6-month period of Formal Instruction at home (FI/AH), a 3-month period of Study Abroad (SA), and 15 months after SA. We seek to throw light onto one of the objectives in SALA, namely, to what extent writing improves with the practice and instruction received during FI/AH, in contrast with allegedly some practice done but none or little instruction received during SA. We also aim at contributing to an under-researched area in SA studies (but see Sasaki 2004, 2007, 2011). Progress in writing is measured via quantitative measures in the domains of complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF), building upon previous work (see Pérez-Vidal & Juan-Garau 2009, 2011, and Pérez-Vidal, Juan-Garau, & Mora 2012). After the SA, but not after the FI context, significant gains were found in the domains of fluency and complexity, but not in the domain of accuracy, and these gains were maintained 15 months after returning from abroad.