Volume 7-1 February 2011.
PDF E-book version
Single vs. Multiple Prompts in Writing
Fateme Layeghi (Ph.D. candidate)
University of Tehran, Language College, Tehran, Iran
Fateme Layeghi is a Ph.D. candidate of TEFL at University of Tehran. Her primary research interests concern EFL writing and language teaching. She is currently teaching in the institute of University of Tehran and has ten years of teaching experience in various institutes.
This study attempted to shed light on the problematic issue of whether to provide writers with one or multiple writing prompts to elicit their best performance and explore their preference in single vs. multiple topics writing. For this purpose, 60 high-intermediate male and female college students were chosen. They were required to write on single and multiple topic situations with one week interval; they were then asked some questions to probe their opinions on the most voted situation. After holistically scoring all essays with the TOEFL Writing Band Scales (taken from Educational Testing Service, 1986), comparing, and analyzing both interview transcripts and holistic writing scores, it was revealed that students scored higher in multiple topics writing situation. They also preferred to choose their writing prompt rather than write on an imposed topic. Results provided some implications for writing teachers and test-givers that are further discussed.
Keywords: Prompt, Argumentative mode, Writing performance, high-intermediate.