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Most of the writing difficulties the participants experienced and the writing strategies they used to address them occurred in the last two phases of the writing process too. At the end of the writing process, the participants tended to evaluate and revise their texts. Overall, all groups, regardless of ELP and keyboarding skill level, seemed to have adopted the same patterns. Table 6 displays descriptive statistics for the main categories of writing activities across tasks and ELP groups see Appendix E for results for the subcategories.

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Because nonparametric statistical tests do not allow examining the effects of more than one independent variable at a time or the examination of interaction effects, two statistical tests were conducted to compare writing activities across tasks and ELP groups. Comparisons across tasks within each ELP group Table D4 indicated that both ELP groups reported significantly fewer planning and organizing activities with the integrated task than they did with the independent task.

There were no significant differences across tasks for both groups in relation to the other main categories of writing activities. Comparisons of categories between ELP groups for each task Table D5 indicated that the proportions of main categories of writing activities relative to each other did not differ significantly across ELP groups for both tasks, except for planning and organizing for the independent task.

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Table 7 displays descriptive statistics for the main categories of writing activities across tasks and keyboarding skill groups see Appendix F for results for the subcategories. Because nonparametric statistical tests do not allow examining the effects of more than one independent variable at a time or the examination of interaction effects, two statistical tests were conducted to compare writing activities across tasks and keyboarding skills groups.

Comparisons across tasks within each keyboarding skill group Table D6 indicated that both keyboarding skill groups reported significantly fewer planning and organizing activities with the integrated task than they did with the independent task. Comparisons of categories between keyboarding skill groups for each task Table D7 indicated that the proportions of main categories of writing activities relative to each other did not differ significantly across keyboarding skill groups for both tasks.

However, as Table 7 shows, generally, the low keyboarding skill group reported more procedural activities and fewer interacting with task activities than did the high keyboarding skill group with both writing tasks. Additionally, the high keyboarding skill group reported more planning and organizing and revising activities than did the low keyboarding skill group, which reported detecting writing difficulties and using writing strategy more frequently than the high keyboarding skill group with the independent task see Table 7.

In terms of subcategories of writing activities see Appendix F , the low keyboarding skill group tended to check the time more frequently than did the high keyboarding skill group with both writing tasks. With the independent task, participants with low keyboarding skills experienced more writing difficulties related to language and content and used more writing strategies than did participants with high keyboarding skills who tended to plan, both at the global and local levels, and to evaluate various writing aspects more frequently. To examine the relationships between writing activities and text quality, the correlations Spearman rho between the proportion of writing activities and scores for each writing task were computed.

Generally, as Table 8 shows, participants who obtained higher scores reported more writing activities, particularly with the integrated task. However, neither the total number of reported writing activities nor the percentages of the main categories of writing activities correlated significantly with scores for both writing tasks. Table 8 shows also that participants who obtained higher scores on the integrated task tended to report more interacting with task, detecting writing difficulty, using writing strategy, and evaluating activities and fewer planning and organizing, generating and retrieving, revising, and procedural activities than did those with low scores.

Generally, participants who scored higher on the independent task reported more interacting with task, detecting writing difficulties, using writing strategy, and revising activities and fewer activities related to planning and organizing and generating and retrieving than did those with low scores. Table 8 also displays the correlations between the proportion of writing activities and scores for each writing phase for each task. While the sample size is small, Table 8 reveals some interesting patterns. First, the interacting with task activity and the scores correlated positively in the first phase and negatively in the last phase for the independent task.

Second, the interacting with sources activity correlated positively with task scores in Phase 1 and negatively in Phases 2 and 3 for the integrated task. Generally, participants who reported planning and organizing their texts more frequently at the beginning of the writing process and less frequently later obtained higher scores. Fourth, the evaluating activity seems to correlate positively with task scores only in Phase 2 for the independent task and in Phase 3 for the integrated task. The revising activity and the scores were negatively correlated in Phase 1 for both tasks.

Using the writing strategy activity correlated positively with task scores in Phase 2 for the independent task and Phase 3 for the integrated task. The participants reported a wide range of writing activities with both tasks.

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The most frequently reported activities with both tasks related to evaluating particularly evaluating language and evaluating local text , planning and organizing particularly local planning , detecting writing difficulty particularly difficulties with language and content , revising particularly revising language , using writing strategy, and procedural particularly checking the time. Interacting with task was reported less frequently with both tasks.

With the integrated task, the participants reported interacting with sources most frequently. In particular, they reported referring to sources i. With both tasks, the participants reported more evaluating activities than revising activities cf. Generally, participants who reported experiencing more writing difficulties reported using more writing strategies, and those who reported more evaluation activities reported more revision activities as well with both tasks. Overall, the activities that the participants reported are part of the writing construct, as they are consistent with expectations regarding the processes that test takers would engage with when responding to independent and integrated writing tasks.

This empirical evidence about the actual activities that test takers reported employing can be used to substantiate claims about the validity of inferences based on TOEFL iBT writing scores. Comparisons across tasks indicated that the participants tended to check the time and interact with the writing task significantly more frequently with the integrated task.

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They reported that they tended to plan, particularly at the local level, to experience writing difficulties related to language and content and to evaluate language and local text significantly more frequently with the independent task. These findings are not surprising, given that the independent task requires generating and planning content and language as well as writing more extensively than does the independent task, which provides test takers with content, and possibly language and organization, for their texts cf.

Plakans, , Consequently, the test takers experienced more difficulties related to language and content and had to evaluate and revise their texts more often with the independent task. Examination of the distribution of writing activities across the writing process suggests that the participants adopted a linear approach to writing with both tasks.

With the independent task, the participants read and reflected on the writing task at the beginning of the writing process and then planned, generated, and wrote throughout the writing process.


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Consequently, they experienced writing difficulties and used writing strategies to address them throughout the writing process. At the end of the writing process, they tended to evaluate and revise their texts and to check time more frequently. With the integrated task, participants tended to read and reflect on the writing task and to interact with the sources at the beginning of the writing process and then to plan, generate, and write in the second and last phases of the writing session.

Most of the writing difficulties the participants experienced and the writing strategies they used to address them occurred in the last two phases of the writing process. At the end of the writing process, the participants tended to evaluate and revise their texts and to check time more frequently.

Finally, it seems that all groups, regardless of level of ELP and keyboarding skills, adopted the same linear approach to writing with both tasks. Previous research suggests that writers are less likely to adopt a linear approach when writing on the computer than when they write on paper e.

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While the findings of this study suggest that the frequency of writing activities varied across participants within each phase of the writing process, perhaps because some participants engaged in all writing activities in all phases, the predominant approach is a linear one with both tasks i. There are several explanations for the linear approach adopted by the participants in this study.


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  5. First, it is possible that this is the approach they usually use when writing in L2, perhaps as a result of their learning and writing beliefs and histories. Second, the structure and instructions of the tasks might have encouraged a linear approach to writing. Finally, the time constraints imposed by the test might have led the participants to adopt a linear approach to writing cf.

    Hall, The major differences between ELP groups concerned planning and organizing, interacting with task, detecting writing difficulties, evaluating, and revising. These differences affected mainly the independent task. First, participants with low ELP reported significantly more planning and organizing activities than did high ELP participants with the independent task. Second, the low ELP group reported significantly more detecting writing difficulties with the independent task than it did with the integrated task.

    Third, the high ELP group reported significantly fewer interacting with task activities and significantly more evaluating and revising activities with the independent task than it did with the integrated task.

    These patterns suggest that responding to the writing tasks went more smoothly for the more proficient participants, who faced fewer writing difficulties, often were able to address the difficulties they encountered, and, consequently, did not need to worry about time as much as their less proficient counterparts did, particularly with the independent task.

    More proficient students also seem to be more effective in deciding which activities to engage in during each writing task. For example, they devoted more time to interacting with the writing task and the sources with the integrated task and less time to these activities with the independent task compared to the less proficient group. They also made more evaluations and revisions when they had to generate and revise their own content and language i.

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    The less proficient group, in contrast, tended to engage in more evaluation than revision activities with the independent task and devoted more time to revising language with the integrated task than they did with the independent task. There were two main significant differences across keyboarding skill groups in terms of the proportions of reported writing activities.

    First, the low keyboarding skill group experienced significantly more detecting writing difficulty with the independent task than it did with the integrated task. Second, the high keyboarding skill group reported significantly more evaluating and revising activities with the independent task than it did with the integrated task. There were also some differences in terms of subcategories of writing activities across keyboarding skill groups that were not significant but are worth mentioning.

    First, the low keyboarding skill group reported more procedural activities and less interacting with task than did the high keyboarding skill group with both writing tasks. Second, for the independent task, the high keyboarding skill group reported more planning and organizing and revising activities than did the low keyboarding skill group, which reported detecting writing difficulty and using writing strategy more frequently than did the high keyboarding skill group. In terms of subcategories of writing activities, the low keyboarding skill group reported more checking the time than did the high keyboarding skill group with both writing tasks.

    With the independent task, participants with low keyboarding skills experienced more writing difficulties related to language and content and used more writing strategies than did participants with high keyboarding skills, who tended to plan, both at the global and local levels, and to evaluate various writing aspects more frequently.

    It seems that participants with low keyboarding skills were more worried about the time with both tasks, perhaps because they were concerned that they would not be able to complete their responses within the allotted time, given their low typing speed. They also interacted less frequently with the writing task, perhaps because they felt they needed to start planning and writing their responses soon so as not to waste time needed for typing their responses.

    The effects of keyboarding skills, though small, were more apparent with the independent task, which may have seemed to be more demanding than the integrated task as it required test takers not only to type their responses, but also to generate, plan, organize, and revise their own content and language. Consequently, participants with low keyboarding skills experienced more writing difficulties, particularly in relation to finding ideas, and needed to use more writing strategies with the independent task compared to both the integrated task and to participants with high keyboarding skills.

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    In contrast, participants with high keyboarding skills were able to devote more time to planning and evaluating their responses with the independent task compared to the participants in the low keyboarding skill group. Perhaps because the integrated task provided test takers with content and language to use in their writing, participants with low keyboarding skills were able to devote relatively more time to interacting with sources as well as evaluating their texts when responding to this task.

    It seems thus that writing on the computer had a somewhat negative impact on the writing activities of some participants with low keyboarding skills with the independent task. Additionally, participants who obtained higher scores on the integrated task tended to report more evaluating and procedural activities than did those with low scores, while participants who scored higher on the independent task reported more revising than did those with low scores. Revising thus seems to have played a more important role with the independent task than it did with the integrated task.

    As discussed below, while overall planning correlated negatively with scores, planning in the first phase correlated positively with scores. These patterns suggest that revising played a more important role when test takers had to generate their own content and language i. The correlations between proportions of writing activities and text quality varied depending on when these activities were engaged in during the writing process.

    In particular, participants who reported interacting with the writing task and planning and organizing their texts more frequently at the beginning of the writing process and less frequently later obtained higher scores with both tasks cf. This finding is consistent with previous research that shows that skilled writers tend to plan more at the beginning of the writing process e.