The Effect of Task Repetition on Complexity and Accuracy of Iranian High-intermediate EFL Learners’ Narrative Writing Performance

Leyli Azizzadeh, Leila Dobakhti


Developments in the area of task-based language teaching (TBLT) research have heightened the need to focus on the task implementation factors in the sense that they are effective in successful language performance to occur. The present study aimed to examine the effect of task repetition, as one of the task implementation variables, on Iranian high-intermediate English as a foreign language (EFL) learners' narrative writing performance. To this end, a pre-test/post-test quasi-experimental design was applied; 40 participants, with 18 to 25 years of age, were non-randomly selected and considered as two groups of the experimental and control ones. Both groups took a pre-test to ensure their homogeneity in narrative writing skill. Then, for 14 sessions, the experimental group was engaged in repetitive practice of narrative writing tasks. Three weeks after the end of the treatment, both groups performed the two post-tests. The results of independent samples t-tests showed that the experimental group significantly outperformed the control one in regard with complexity on the two post-test phases (p<.05), however; the results were not significant in the case of accuracy. The findings have important pedagogical implications for EFL learners and teachers, as well as useful future research directions in EFL writing for the researchers.


Task repetition, Complexity, Accuracy, Narrative writing, EFL learner

Full Text:



Adams, R. (2003). L2 output, reformulation and noticing: Implications for IL development. Language Teaching Research, 7(3), 347-376. DOI: 10.1191/1362168803lr127oa. Retrieved March 6, 2013, from

Ahmadian, M. J. (2011). The effect of ‘massed’ task repetitions on complexity, accuracy, and fluency: Does it transfer to a new task?. The Language Learning Journal, 39(3), 269-280. DOI:10.1080/09571736.

Biria, R. & Jafari, S. (2013). The impact of collaborative writing on the writing fluency of Iranian EFL learners.Journal of Language Teaching and Research,4(1), 164-175. DOI:10.4304/jltr.4.1.164-175.

Birjandi, P. & Malmir, A. (2009). The effect of task based approach on the Iranian Advanced EFL learners' narrative vs. expository writing. Iranian Journal of Applied Language Studies, 1(2), 1-26.

Bygate, M. (1999). Task as the context for the framing, reframing and unframing of language. System, 27, 33-48.

Bygate, M. (2001). Effects of task repetition on the structure and control of oral language. In M. Bygate, P. Skehan, & M. Swain (Eds.), Researching pedagogic tasks: Second language learning, teaching, and testing (pp. 23-48). Harlow, UK: Longman.

Bygate, M. & Samuda, V. (2005). Integrative planning through the use of task repetition. In R. Ellis (Ed.), Planning and task performance in a second language (pp. 37-74). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Chastain, K. (1988). Developing second language skills: Theory and practice. New York, NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

Eliasi, A. & Vahidi Borji, H. (2013). Task repetition and noticing as a route to semester-long destabilization: A cross-sectional study of Iranian EFL learners’ oral output. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 2 (3), 21-28. DOI:10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.2n.3p.21.

Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R. (2005). Planning and task-based performance: Theory and research. In R. Ellis (Ed.), Planning and task performance in a second language (pp. 3-34). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Ellis, R. (2009). The differential effects of three types of task planning on the fluency, complexity, and accuracy in L2 oral production. Applied Linguistics, 30 (4), 474-509. DOI:10.1093/applin/amp042.

Ellis, R. & Yuan, F. (2004). The effects of planning on fluency, complexity, and accuracy in second language narrative writing. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26, 59–84. DOI: 10.1017/S0272263104261034.

Foster, P. & Skehan, P. (1996). The influence of planning on performance in task-based learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 18(3), 299-324. DOI:10.1017/S0272263100015047.

Fowler, W. S. & Norman, C. (1976). Nelson English language tests. Canada: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd.

Gass, S., Mackey, A., Fernandez, M., & Alvarez-Torres, M. (1999). The effects of task repetition on linguistic output. Language Learning, 49, 549–580. DOI:10.1111/0023-8333.00102.

Hamadouche, M. (2010). Developing the writing skill through increasing learner's awareness of the writing process: The case of second year students.(Unpublished Master's thesis). EntouriUniversitty: Constantine.

Harris, D. P. (1969).Testing English as a second language. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Heaton, J. (1975). Beginning composition through pictures. London: Longman.

Howrey, J. D. & Tanner, P. (2009). Writing portfolios: Empowering students, teachers, and the curriculum. In A. M. Stoke (Ed.), JALT2008 Conference Proceedings (pp. 1157-1167). Tokyo: JALT. Retrieved May 12, 2013, from

Kawauchi, C. (2005). The effects of strategic planning on the oral narratives of learners with low and high intermediate L2 proficiency. In R. Ellis (Ed.), Planning and task performance in a second language (pp. 143-164). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Kellogg, R. T. (1996). A model of working memory in writing. In C. M. Levy & S. Ransdell (Eds.), The science of writing: Theories, methods, individual differences and applications (pp. 57–71). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Kim, S. H. (2001). A description of college students’ writing process: A strategy-based approach. English Teaching, 56, 55 – 73.

Larsen-Freeman, D. (2006). The emergence of complexity, fluency, and accuracy in the oral and written production of five Chinese learners of English. Applied Linguistics, 27(4), 590- 619. DOI:10.1093/applin/aml029.

Mackey, A. & Gass, S. M. (2005). Second language research: Methodology and design. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Moser, J. (2012). A classroom based, mixed methods study into the influence of transcribing, reporting, and task repetition: How do they impact in-class student spoken task performances (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Birmingham: United Kingdom.

Muranoi, H. (2007). Output practice in the L2 classroom. In R. M. Dekeyser (Ed.): Practice in a second language: Perspectives from applied linguistics and cognitive psychology (pp. 51-84). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Silva, T. (1990). Second language composition instruction: Developments, issues and directions in ESL. In T. Silva & P. Matsuda (Eds.), Landmark essays on ESL writing (pp.191-208). NJ: Hermagoras Press.

Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Skehan, P., & Foster, P. (1999). The influence of task structure and processing conditions on narrative retellings. Language Learning, 49(1), 93–120. DOI:10.1111/1467-9922.00071.

Skehan, P., Xiaoyue, B., Qian, L., & Wang, Z. (2012). The task is not enough: Processing approaches to task-based performance. Language Teaching Research, 16(2), 170-187. DOI: 10.1177/1362168811428414.

Tavakoli, P. & Skehan, P. (2005). Strategic planning, task structure, and performance testing. In R. Ellis (Ed.), Planning and task performance in a second language (pp. 239-73). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Wigglesworth, G. & Storch, N. (2009). Pair versus individual writing: Effects on fluency, complexity and accuracy. Language Testing, 26(3), 445-466. DOI: 10.1177/0265532209104670.

Zoghi, M. (2012). Letscross the rubicon: Strengthening reading comprehension instruction. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 70 (2013), 537- 543. DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.01.091

Zohrabi, M. & Abasvand, Y. (2014). The effects of task repetition on improving Iranian EFL learners' accuracy and complexity in writing proficiency. International Journal of English and Education, 3(2), 156-165.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.