The Impact of Time-Series Diagnostic Tests on the Writing Ability of Iranian EFL learners

Bahareh Molazem Atashgahi

Abstract


This study aimed to show whether administering a battery of time-series diagnostic tests (screening) has any impact on Iranian EFL learners’ writing ability. The study was conducted on the intermediate EFL learners at Islamic Azad University North Tehran branch.  The researcher administered a homogenizing test in order to exclude the exceptional scores, among all the testers, only those whose scores were nearly within one standard deviation above or below the mean were selected as the participants of this study. After the assignment of the participants to the control and experimental groups- 30 students in each group- they were asked to write five-paragraph-essays on two topics. Such a pretest was given to both groups to test their initial writing ability. Once scoring of the students’ writings (five- paragraph essay) was finished the two means of the groups were calculated and compared with each other through the t-test analysis. The result demonstrated that there was no statistically significant difference between those two groups regarding the variable under investigation. Four sets of diagnostic tests were given to the experimental group every two weeks and after each test both the result of the exam and suitable feedback regarding students’ errors were given to them by the teacher, while the Current-Traditional Rhetoric method was administered in the control group.

In the posttest which was run after giving the treatment and placebo to experimental group and control group respectively, students took another writing test with the same characteristics in administration, topics and scoring as the one in pretest. Thereafter, the significance of the difference between the obtained means of experimental and control groups in the posttest was determined through the t-test.  The result of the t-test analysis indicated a significant difference between the two groups which consequently rejected the null hypothesis of the study.

Therefore, any significant difference between the performance of experimental and control groups were attributed to the effectiveness of treatment which in this study was a set of parallel form diagnostic tests and the related feedback which was given by the teacher. Two matched t-test were also calculated to determine whether students in two groups had any improvements from the pretest to posttest or not. 


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