Task repetition and collaborative writing by EFL children: Beyond CAF measures


young learners
task repetition
collaborative writing
holistic measures

How to Cite

Hidalgo, M. Ángeles, & Lázaro-Ibarrola, A. (2020). Task repetition and collaborative writing by EFL children: Beyond CAF measures. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 10(3), 501–522. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2020.10.3.5


Research into the potential of collaborative writing is relatively new. Similarly, task repetition (TR), which has been claimed to be a valuable tool for language learning, has been rarely explored in the context of writing. Therefore, little is known about the potential of combining TR and collaborative writing, and even less if we focus on young learners (YLs), who constitute a generally under-researched population. With these research gaps in mind, the present study examines the compositions of 10 pairs of learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) (aged 12) who write the same text in response to the same picture prompt three times over a three-week period. Our analysis includes the language-related episodes (LREs) that learners generate while writing collaboratively and, also, a thorough analysis of the three drafts that students produce, including quantitative (complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF)) and holistic measures. Results show that learners’ compositions improve with repetition when measured by holistic ratings although CAF measures fail to grasp this improvement. As for the LREs, a great amount was found, most of the episodes were focused on form, most were successfully resolved and their amount declined with TR. In light of these results we argue in favor of the inclusion of holistic measures when analyzing students’ productions and discuss the positive effects of collaborative writing in the context of TR with YLs.



Abrams, Z., & Byrd, D. R. (2017). The effects of meaning-focused pre-tasks on beginning-level L2 writing in German: An exploratory study. Language Teaching Research, 21(4), 434-453. http://doi.org/10.1177/1362168815627383

Adams, R., & Ross-Feldman, L. (2008). Does writing influence learner attention to form? In D. Belcher & A. Hirvela (Eds.), The oral/literate connection: Perspectives on L2 speaking/writing connections (pp. 243-267). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Ahmadian, M. J., & Tavakoli, M. (2011). The effects of simultaneous use of careful online planning and task repetition on accuracy, complexity, and fluency in EFL learners’ oral production. Language Teaching Research, 15(1), 35-59. http://doi.org/10.1177/1362168810383329

Amiryousefi, M. (2016). The differential effects of two types of task repetition on the complexity, accuracy, and fluency in computer-mediated L2 written production: A focus on computer anxiety. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 29(5), 1050-1066. http://doi.org/10.1080/09588221.2016.1170040

Bagheri, M. S., Rahimi, F., & Riasati, M. J. (2012). Communicative interaction in language learning tasks among EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(5), 948-952. http://doi.org/10.4304/jltr.3.5.948-952

Bret Blasco, A. (2014). L2 English young learners’ oral production skills in CLIL and EFL settings: A longitudinal study (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain.

Bui, G., Ahmadian, M. J., & Hunter, A.-M. (2018). Spacing effects on repeated L2 task performance. System, 81, 1-13. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2018.12.006

Bygate, M. (1996). Effects of task repetition: Appraising the developing language of learners. In J. Willis & D. Willis (Eds.), Challenge and change in language teaching (pp. 136-146). Oxford: Macmillan Heinemann.

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: Longman.

Bygate, M. (2018). Introduction. In M. Bygate (Ed.), Learning language through task repetition (pp. 1-25). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. http://doi.org/10.1075/tblt.11

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 Publishing Company.

Cambridge English. (2014). Young Learners: Young learners English tests (YLE). Sample Papers: Flyers: Practice Test 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Collins, L., & Muñoz, C. (2016). The foreign language classroom: Current perspectives and future considerations. Modern Language Journal, 100(16), 133-147. http://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12305

Copland, F., Garton, S., & Burns, A. (2014). Challenges in teaching English to young learners: Global perspectives and local realities. TESOL Quarterly, 48(4), 738-762. http://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.148

Coyle, Y., & Roca de Larios, J. (2014). Exploring the role played by error correction and models on children’s reported noticing and output production in a L2 writing task. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 36(3), 451-485. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263113000612

De Jong, N. H., Steinel, M. P., Florijn, A. F., Schoonen, R., & Hulstijn, J. H. (2012). The effect of task complexity on functional adequacy, fluency and lexical diversity in speaking performances of native and non-native speakers. In A. Housen, F. Kuiken, & I. Vedder (Eds.), Dimensions of L2 performance and proficiency: Complexity, accuracy and fluency in SLA (pp. 121-142). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Ede, L., & Lunsford, A. (1990). Singular texts/plural authors. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Enever, J. (2018). Policy and politics in global primary English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Foster, P., Tonkyn, A., & Wigglesworth, G. (2000). Measuring spoken language: A unit for all reasons. Applied Linguistics, 21(3), 354-375. http://doi.org/10.1093/applin/21.3.354

García Mayo, M. P., & Azkarai, A. (2016). EFL task-based interaction: Does task modality impact on language-related episodes? In M. Sato & S. Ballinger (Eds.), Peer interaction and second language learning: Pedagogical potential and research agenda (pp. 241-266). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

García Mayo, M. P., Imaz Agirre, A., & Azkarai, A. (2017). Task repetition effects on CAF in EFL child task-based interaction. In M. J. Ahmadian & M. P. García Mayo (Eds.), Recent perspectives on task-based language learning and teaching (pp. 11-28). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. http://doi.org/10.1515/9781501503399

Gilabert, R., Manchón, R., & Vasylets, O. (2016). Mode in theoretical and empirical TBLT research: Advancing research agendas. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 36, 117-135. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0267190515000112

Hidalgo, M. Á. (2018). The oral production and negotiation of meaning of Spanish EFL children in task-supported interaction: The role of age and task repetition (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU), Spain.

Hidalgo, M. Á., & García Mayo, M. P. (2019). The influence of task repetition type on young EFL learners’ attention to form. Language Teaching Research, 3, 948-952. http://doi.org/10.1177/1362168819865559

Housen, A., & Kuiken, F. (2009). Complexity, accuracy, and fluency in second language acquisition. Applied Linguistics, 30(4), 461-473. http://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amp048

Housen, A., Kuiken, F., & Vedder, I. (Eds.). (2012). Dimensions of L2 performance and proficiency: Complexity, accuracy and fluency in SLA (Vol. 32). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Hu, X. (2018). Effects of task type, task-type repetition, and performance criteria on L2 oral production. In M. Bygate (Ed.), Learning language through task repetition (pp. 143-169). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Hunt, K. (1966). Recent measures in syntactic development. Elementary English, 43, 732-739.

Iwashita, N., Brown, A., McNamara, T., & O’Hagan, S. (2008). Assessed levels of second language speaking proficiency: How distinct? Applied Linguistics 29(1), 24-49. http://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amm017

Kim, Y. (2013). Effects of pretask modeling on attention to form and question development. TESOL Quarterly, 47(1), 8-35. http://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.52

Kim, Y., & Tracy-Ventura, N. (2013). The role of task repetition in L2 performance development: What needs to be repeated during task-based interaction? System, 41, 829-840. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2013.08.005

Kuiken, F., Vedder, I., & Gilabert, R. (2010). Communicative adequacy and linguistic complexity in L2 writing. In I. Bartning, M. Martin, & I. Vedder (Eds.), Communicative proficiency and linguistic development: Intersections between SLA and language testing research (pp. 81-100). EUROSLA Monographs Series 1.

Lambert, C., Kormos, J., & Minn, D. (2017). Task repetition and second language speech processing. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 39(1), 167-196. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263116000085

Lázaro-Ibarrola, A., & Hidalgo, M. Á. (2017). Procedural repetition in task-based interaction among young EFL learners. ITL – International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 168(2), 183-202. http://doi.org/10.1075/itl.16024.laz

Loewen, S., & Sato, M. (2018). State of the art article: Interaction and instructed second language acquisition. Language Teaching, 51(3), 285-329. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0261444818000125

Long, M. H. (1983). Linguistic and conversational adjustments to nonnative speakers. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 5, 177-193. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263100004848

López-Serrano, S., Roca de Larios, J, & Manchón, R. M. (2019). Language reflection fostered by individual L2 writing tasks: Developing a theoretically motivated and empirically based coding system. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 41(3), 503-527. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263100004848

Lynch, T., & Maclean, J. (2000). Exploring the benefits of task repetition and recycling for classroom language learning. Language Teaching Research, 4(3), 221-250. http://doi.org/10.1177/136216880000400303

Mackey, A., & Gass, S. (2006). Pushing the methodological boundaries in interaction research: An introduction to the special issue. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 28(2), 169-178. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263106060086

MacWhinney, B. (2000). The CHILDES project: Tools for analyzing talk (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Malvern, D. D., Richards, B. J., Chipere, N., & Durán, P. (2004). Lexical diversity and language development: Quantification and assessment. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Manchón, R. M. (2014). The distinctive nature of task repetition in writing: Implications for theory, research, and pedagogy. Elia, 14, 13-41. http://doi.org/10.12795/elia.2014.i14.02

Michel, M. (2017) Complexity, accuracy and fluency (CAF). In S. Loewen & M. Sato (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of instructed second language acquisition (pp. 50-68). London: Routledge.

Nassaji, H., & Tian, J. (2010). Collaborative and individual output tasks and their effects on learning English phrasal verbs. Language Teaching Research, 14(4), 397-419. http://doi.org/10.1177/1362168810375364

Nitta, R., & Baba, K. (2014). Task repetition and L2 writing development: A longitudinal study from a dynamic systems perspective. In H. Byrnes & R. M. Manchón (Eds.), Task-based language learning: Insights from and for L2 writing (pp. 107-136). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Pallotti, G. (2009). CAF: Defining, refining and differentiating constructs. Applied Linguistics, 30, 590-601. http://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amp045

Payant, C., & Reagan, D. (2018). Manipulating task implementation variables with incipient Spanish language learners: A classroom-based study. Language Teaching Research, 22(2), 169-188. http://doi.org/10.1177/1362168816669742

Pinter, A. (2006). Verbal evidence of task related strategies: Child versus adult interactions. System, 24, 615-630. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2006.09.005

Pinter, A. (2007). Some benefits of peer-peer interaction: 10 year-old children practicing with a communicative task. Language Teaching Research, 11(2), 189-207. http://doi.org/10.1177/1362168807074604

Pinter, A. (2011). Children learning second languages. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pinter, A. (2017). Teaching young language learners (2nd ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sample, E., & Michel, M. (2014). An exploratory study into trade-off effects of complexity, accuracy, and fluency on young learners’ oral task repetition. TESL Canada Journal, 31(8), 23-46. http://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v31i0.1185

Schoonen, R., Snellings, P., Stevenson, M., & van Gelderen, A. (2009). Towards a blueprint of the foreign language writer: The linguistic and cognitive demands of foreign language writing. In R. Manchón (Ed.), Writing in foreign language contexts: Learning, teaching, and research (pp. 77-101). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Storch, N. (2005). Collaborative writing: Product, process, and students’ reflections. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14, 153-173. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2005.05.002

Storch, N. (2007). Investigating the effectiveness of pair work on a conversational cloze task in EFL classes. Language Teaching Research, 11(2), 143-159. http://doi.org/10.1177/1362168807074600

Storch, N. (2011). Collaborative writing in L2 contexts: Processes, outcomes, and future directions. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 31, 275-288. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0267190511000079

Storch, N. (2013). Collaborative writing in L2 classrooms. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Storch, N. (2016). Collaborative writing. In R. M. Manchón & P. Matsuda (Eds.), Handbook of second and foreign language writing (pp. 387-406). Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.

Storch, N. (2018). Written corrective feedback from sociocultural theoretical perspectives: A research agenda. Language Teaching, 51, 262-277. http://doi.org/10.1017/s0261444818000034

Storch, N., & Wigglesworth, G. (2007). Writing tasks: Comparing individual and collaborative writing. In M. P. Garcia-Mayo (Ed.), Investigating tasks in formal language learning (pp. 157-177). London: Multilingual Matters.

Swain, M. (2005). The output hypothesis: Theory and research. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook on research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 471-483). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Swain, M., & Lapkin, S. (1998). Interaction and second language learning: Two adolescent French immersion students working together. Modern Language Journal, 82, 320-337. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.1998.tb01209

Tavakoli, P. (2014). Storyline complexity and syntactic complexity in writing and speaking tasks. In H. Byrnes & R. M. Manchón (Eds.), Task-based language learning: Insights from and for L2 writing (pp. 217-236). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Teng, M. F. (2020). The effectiveness of group, pair and individual output tasks on learning phrasal verbs. The Language Learning Journal, 48, 187-200. http://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2017.1373841

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

Williams, J. (2012). The potential role(s) of writing in second language development. Journal of Second Language Writing, 21(4), 321-331. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2012.09.007

Wolfe-Quintero, K., Inagaki, S., & Kim, H. (1998). Second language development in writing: Measures of fluency accuracy and complexity. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii at Manoa.