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Title: Direct and indirect effects of independent language skills on the integrated writing performance of Chinese-speaking students with low proficiency
Authors: Liao, X
Zhu, XH 
Cheong, CM
Issue Date: Dec-2021
Source: Reading and writing, Dec. 2021, v. 34, no. 10, p. 2529-2557
Abstract: Integrated writing is increasingly used in language assessment programmes. As a hybrid task, it requires students to coordinate different language skills, i.e. listening, reading and writing, to retrieve information from multiple sources, and compose an essay for a specific purpose. Tapping into the varied skills that contribute to successful integrated writing is especially beneficial for low proficiency students. However, the mechanisms underlying the impact of these skills on integrated writing performance have yet to be thoroughly studied. This study sampled 103 first-year undergraduate students in Hong Kong who showed relatively low proficiency in Chinese language. They completed three independent tasks measuring their listening, reading, and writing skills; an integrated listening-reading-writing task; and an integrated writing strategy use questionnaire. The results indicated that together, the independent skills accounted for 29.5% of the variance in integrated writing performance, suggesting that integrated writing is a skill that goes far beyond the simple combination of listening, reading, and writing. Independent writing showed the strongest correlation with integrated writing, while both independent listening and independent writing exerted direct and indirect effects on integrated writing performance. However, the effect of reading on integrated writing performance was insignificant, even though the two were significantly correlated. These results offer insights into the complex relationships between the skills. The findings enrich our understanding of the construct of integrated writing, as well as suggest strategies for teaching less proficient learners.
Keywords: Integrated writing
Independent writing
Independent reading
Independent listening
Direct and indirect effect
Publisher: Springer
Journal: Reading and writing 
ISSN: 0922-4777
DOI: 10.1007/s11145-021-10152-7
Rights: © The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. 2021
This version of the article has been accepted for publication, after peer review (when applicable) and is subject to Springer Nature’s AM terms of use (, but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at:
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