Vol. 3. No. 1 A-1 November 1997
Return to Table of Contents Return to Main Page

Assessing the Metacognitive Growth of ESL Student Writers

Loretta F. Kasper
Kingsborough Community College/CUNY


Recent research suggests a potential link between metacognitive knowledge and writing performance. This research has particularly important implications for ESL instruction because developing English language writing competence presents a major challenge to students. The present study attempted to clarify the relationship between metacognition and ESL writing performance by posing the following questions: (1) Does each of the components of the metacognitive model-- personal, task, and strategy--have an equivalent effect upon the writing performance of ESL students?; (2) Do these three components impact performance equally at different levels of English language proficiency?; and (3) How do metacognitive models evolve as students advance in their English language development? This study offers both quantitative (statistical) and qualitative (protocol) data to support the hypothesis that there is a significant positive correlation between ESL students' metacognitive growth, along and across the three components of the metacognitive knowledge base, and their actual performance on a final writing assessment. The results suggest that it is especially critical to design activities which target and develop students' knowledge of efficient writing strategies. The results further suggest that instruction designed to strengthen students' metacognitive models should be introduced early on as an integral part of ESL writing instruction.

Keywords: metacognition, metacognitive growth, writing, ESL, language development

Return to Table of Contents Go to Full Article Return to Main Page