Schrijven in moedertaal en vreemde taal
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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This paper reports on the results of a detailed analysis of a functional writing assignment taken from the International Study of Written Composition of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). 15\16 year olds were asked to write a short notice of absence to their school principal. The corpus consisted of 299 texts.For the analysis of these texts four content elements deemed necessary for successful communication were chosen. These elements were:a = a reminder of (the time of) the appointmentb= informing of its cancellationc = giving the cause for the cancellation (i.e. illness)d = apologizing for the inconvenience.The data revealed four ways of organizing this type of notice. Each version is characterized by the first element mentioned, i.e. element a, b, c, or d. The versions differed in three ways: the ordering of the essential content elements, the number of incomplete texts per type, and the inclusion of additional information.Each of these three factors influenced the quality ratings of the texts. A formula weighing the various orderings and the absence of one or more of the information elements allowed a reliable reconstruction of these ratings. Whether the weights accurately estimate each of the features contribution to the functional adequacy of the communicative intent of the text will be the topic of a follow-up study.The data show that neither writing proficiency nor gender could explain the student's choice of one of the four versions. The fact that the versions were rated differently, raises doubts concerning the fairness of the task.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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