Investigating writing across foreign languages:
Same Matura task, different processes?


Recently, the focus in writing assessment has shifted from a product-oriented towards a process-oriented approach, with research starting to pay due attention to cognitive writing processes (e.g. Barkaoui, 2016, 2019; Chan et al., 2014; Révész, et al., 2017, 2019). Nevertheless, these studies are grounded exclusively in English as a foreign language (EFL) contexts and corresponding models of writing (e.g., Kellogg, 1996; Field, 2004). Although these models lack cross-language validation, they are widely used as frameworks in foreign language testing and writing pedagogy. Consequently, cognitive writing processes elicited in L2s other than English remain a hitherto largely unexplored field. This diploma thesis sought to extend cognitive writing research to learners of French and investigate to what extent writing processes elicited by the same task vary across foreign languages. Therefore, a sample of six B2-learners of French was recruited and assigned with the same Matura task (in translation) as an EFL control group of six test takers (N = 12). By triangulating stimulated recalls with keystroke-logging data and eye-tracking recordings, this study provided new insights into writing processes across foreign languages and the cognitive validity of Matura tasks. Findings from the cross-language study indicated that writing processes are to a large extent comparable across languages, allowing to infer the cross-language validity of cognitive writing models. Nevertheless, language-specific tendencies and difficulties emerged from the qualitative analysis of the stimulated recalls. The results are discussed with regard to writing assessment and pedagogy in Austrian upper-secondary schools, in particular to the standardized school-leaving exam.


Barkaoui, K. (2016). Examining the cognitive processes engaged by APTIS writing Task 4 on paper and on the computer (ARAGs Research Reports Online AR-G/2016/1; ARAGs Research Reports Online, pp. 1–105). British Council.

Barkaoui, K. (2019). What can L2 writers’ pausing behavior tell us about their L2 writing processes? Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 41(3), 529–554.

Chan, S. H. C., Wu, R. Y. F., & Weir, C. J. (2014). Examining the context and cognitive validity of the GEPT Advanced Writing Task 1: A comparison with real-life academic writing tasks. (LTTC-CRELLA Collaboration Project RG-03). LTTC.

Field, J. (2004). Psycholinguistics: The key concepts. Routledge.

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. 57–72). Lawrence Erlbaum.

Révész, A., Michel, M., & Lee, M. (2017). Investigating IELTS Academic Writing Task 2: Relationships between cognitive writing processes, text quality, and working memory (Research Report 2017 / 3; IELTS Research Reports Online Series, pp. 1–44). IELTS, British Council, idp IELTS Australia, & Cambridge English.

Révész, A., Michel, M., & Lee, M. (2019). Exploring second language writers’ pausing and revision behaviours. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 41(2019), 605–631.

Mag.a Elisa Guggenbichler

Studium in den Fächern
Lehramtsstudium für Französisch und Englisch

Betreuer*in der Abschlussarbeit
Mag. Benjamin Kremmel, MA PhD

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