Cognitive-based writing research and assessment have successfully identified the variables that are at work while writing, have informed writing assessment frameworks, have refined and redeveloped the cognitive-based writing models evolved in the 80s and 90s, and have suggested instruction techniques tailored to the needs of the writers (Becker, ).
However, one of the limitations of the early models of cognitive research is that they mostly involved laboratory case studies involving few participants, usually limited to 1 to 20 participants, using interviews and think-aloud protocols—a method which asks students to compose aloud while writing—which is regarded by many us unnatural because, in actual writing, writers do not compose aloud (Humes, ).
Flower and Hayes () characterized good writers as having the ability to respond to all aspects of the rhetorical problem, while poor writers respond to “features and conventions of a written text” (p. Good writers represent the problem in more breadth and depth than did the poor writers.
Humes () claimed that planning separates good and bad writers as good writers spend more time in global planning than poor writers do.
Recent research, however, have focused not only on composing processes but also on the factors in the writers’ long term memory, (which Chenoweth & Hayes ) recognized that writing performance is dependent on the interplay of several factors such as L1 writing ability, L2 proficiency, L2 metaknowledge, and prior L2 writing experience/education.
Among the three variables that they quantitatively measured, L2 proficiency accounted for the biggest portion of L2 performance variance.Similarly, Becker () claimed that novice writers possessed a grim view of rewriting—viewing it as punitive; while expert or skilled writers viewed rewriting as an opportunity to discover ways to improve the quality of the text.Gustilo () concluded that proficient writers, whether they plan or not during the pre-writing stage, may have the same results.Additionally, good writers review and revise their texts on high level-elements of writing such as concerns about style, audience, and tone.Castro () explained that expert writers had more pre-writing activities, more generated ideas, more organizational decisions, more retrieved ideas, and more evaluations before writing down their notes than did the novice writers.The present study will examine only the first internal component, the proposer, by measuring the idea generation processes of students while composing.In sum, in producing a text, any of the internal processes at the process level may activate long-term memory, working memory, or critical reading in the resource level in order to complete the goals set by the control level.The purpose of the pilot study, which is a part of a larger project on ESL writing involving freshmen college students in the Philippines, is to explore the relationship between writer’s performance, writer’s resources, and writer’s idea generation process.To measure the writer’s performance, diagnostic essays of 85 Filipino freshmen engineering students were evaluated based on Gustilo’s (2011) modified holistic scoring guide.The control level includes “the task goals and a set of productions that govern the interactions among the processes” (p. The resource level as explained by Chenoweth and Hayes () includes the long-term memory, the working memory, and other general purpose processes (e.g.process of reading) that the control level and process level can manipulate.