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English writing skills of students in upper secondary education: Results from an empirical study in Switzerland and Germany
S. D. Keller, J. Fleckenstein, M. Krüger, O. Köller, A. A. Rupp

English writing skills of students in upper secondary education: Results from an empirical study in Switzerland and Germany

Journal of Second Language Writing, 48, [100700]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2019.100700

This study investigates English writing skills of learners two years and one year before their baccalaureate exam in upper secondary schools (academic track, Gymnasium) in Germany and Switzerland. It focuses on level and development of EFL writing as well as differences between groups (country, gender, language background). A sample of n = 2847 students worked in a repeated measurement study on two different writing tasks from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT). Results showed that in both countries over 70% of tested students achieved level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), thus mastering target standards one year before graduation. There were small effects for the development of writing skills over the school year, which were similar in size to studies on receptive skills. Swiss students outperformed German students while gender and language background did not have significant effects. These findings are discussed with regard to implications for English writing curricula and teacher education in an international context.