Secondary school students’ discourse synthesis performance on Chinese (L1) and English (L2) integrated writing assessments

Xinhua Zhu, Guan Ying Li*, Choo Mui Cheong, Guoxing Yu, Xian Liao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
281 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigates the relationship between three discourse synthesis skills (i.e., quotation, summarization, and connection) and students’ overall integrated writing performance in Chinese, students’ first language, and English, their second language. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that 63.6% of the variance in students’ overall Chinese integrated writing performance was accounted for by the three discourse synthesis skills, with connection and summarization contributed almost equally to the overall scores. In the English test, the three skills explained 47.9% of the variance. Cross-linguistic facilitation of the L1 discourse synthesis skills to the overall L2 integrated writing performance was observed, although the predictive strength of the three skills was comparatively low. Eye-tracking data together with subsequent stimulated-recall interviews illuminated the differences in students’ approaches to discourse synthesis. Findings of the study support the decisive role of discourse synthesis abilities in both L1 and L2 integrated writing assessments. Implications for writing instruction are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-78
Number of pages30
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

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Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Assessment and Evaluation Research


  • Cross-linguistic facilitation
  • Discourse synthesis skills
  • Integrated writing assessment


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