• Accuracy across proficiency levels: A learner corpus approach. Jennifer Thewissen. Presses Universitaires de Louvain, Lougain-la-Neuve, Belgium (2015). 342pp.

      Inoue, Chihiro; University of Bedfordshire (Elsevier, 2017-09-04)
      A review of the book based on Thewissen’s PhD thesis, which used the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE) (Granger et al., 2009) for two main purposes. The first purpose was to capture the development of linguistic accuracy of the argumentative essays written by learners of English at intermediate to advanced levels, namely B1 to C2 in the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) (Council of Europe, 2001). The second purpose was to create a set of L1-specific CEFR descriptors related to the linguistic accuracy by building on the results from the essays written by learners who have French as their L1.  
    • Book review: Understanding second language processing: focus on processability theory

      Chan, Sathena Hiu Chong (Elsevier, 2019-01-30)
      Review of Dyson, BP, Hakansson, G (2017) 'Book review: Understanding second language processing: focus on processability theory' John Benjamins 9789027243751
    • Researching L2 writers’ use of metadiscourse markers at intermediate and advanced levels

      Bax, Stephen; Nakatsuhara, Fumiyo; Waller, Daniel; University of Bedfordshire; University of Central Lancashire (Elsevier, 2019-02-20)
      Metadiscourse markers refer to aspects of text organisation or indicate a writer’s stance towards the text’s content or towards the reader (Hyland, 2004:109). The CEFR (Council of Europe, 2001) indicates that one of the key areas of development anticipated between levels B2 and C1 is an increasing variety of discourse markers and growing acknowledgement of the intended audience by learners. This study represents the first large-scale project of the metadiscourse of general second language learner writing, through the analysis of 281 metadiscourse markers in 13 categories, from 900 exam scripts at CEFR B2-C2 levels. The study employed the online text analysis tool Text Inspector (Bax, 2012), in conjunction with human analysts. The findings revealed that higher level writers used fewer metadiscourse markers than lower level writers, but used a significantly wider range of 8 of the 13 classes of markers. The study also demonstrated the crucial importance of analysing not only the behaviour of whole classes of metadiscourse items but also the individual items themselves. The findings are of potential interest to those involved in the development of assessment scales at different levels of the CEFR, or to teachers interested in aiding the development of learners. 
    • Using eye-tracking research to inform language test validity and design

      Bax, Stephen; Chan, Sathena Hiu Chong (Elsevier, 2019-02-08)
      This paper reports on a recent study which used eye-tracking methodology to examine the cognitive validity of two level-specific English Proficiency Reading Tests (CEFR B2 and C1). Using a mixed-methods approach, the study investigated test takers’ reading patterns on six item types using eye-tracking, a self-report checklist and stimulated recall interviews. Twenty L2 participants completed 30 items on a computer, with the Tobii X2 Eye Tracker recording their eye movements on screen. Immediately after they had completed each item type, they reported their reading processes by using a Reading Process Checklist. Eight students further participated in a stimulated recall interview while viewing video footage of their gaze patterns on the test. The findings indicate (1) the range of cognitive processes elicited by different reading item types at the two levels; and (2) the differences between stronger and weaker test takers' reading patterns on each item type. The implications of this study to reflect on some fundamental questions regarding the use of eye-tracking in language research are discussed. The paper concludes with recommendations for future research in these areas.