Diagnosing the Iranian L2 Writing Ability Using Self-Assessment and Level Specific Approaches

Document Type: Research Paper


University of Tehran


The objectives of this study were (a) to examine the writing performance of L2 learners on the level-specific tasks based on Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) and (b) to study the likely difference between students' self-assessed level of writing and those reported by raters. The study was conducted with 138 Iranian students at BA and MA levels in Alborz Institute of Higher Education. The participants' majors were Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), English Literature, and Translation Studies. DIALANG writing self-assessment grid, CEFR writing self-assessment grid, and three writing tasks at B1 (i.e., intermediate), B2 (i.e., upper intermediate), and C1 (i.e., advanced) levels were administered. Descriptive statistics and chi-square test were run to determine each student's writing level based on their performance on the writing tasks and the self-assessment grids. The results showed that (a) no one in the BA group was placed at the C1 level, and only 17.3% of MA students could reach this level; (b) students of both groups rated their writing ability higher on the CEFR grid, whereas they rated themselves lower on the DIALANG grid; and (c) the learners' self-assessment did not correspond closely with their performance on the writing tasks, and only one-third of them were accurate in assessing their writing ability. Writing teachers are suggested to implement self-assessment and introduce CEFR and DIALANG statements as part of the language instruction and to train students to conduct self-assessment based on the can do statements.


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