The effect of building formal schemata on EFL students' writing achievement

Document Type : Original Article


1 Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch

2 University of Tehran



The purpose of the present study is to investigate the impact of building formal schemata on the improvement of Iranian EFL learners' writing performance. In so doing, the researchers selected two groups of upper-intermediate students at Islamic Azad University, Roodehen Branch, from two intact classes. One class served as the control class and one as the experimental class. In order to assess their general language proficiency, and also to ensure their homogeneity, Nelson English Language Test (Flower and Cow, 1976) was administered. Furthermore, at the beginning of the treatment, the participants of both groups were asked to write an essay as the writing pretest. Then, the experimental group received the treatment which was training on rhetorical organization to build formal schemata. However, the control group received the conventional instruction of the course. After 14 sessions of treatment, both groups were asked to write an essay as the writing posttest. Two raters rated the papers of the groups, using Hyland's (2003) rating scale. After estimating the interrater reliability of the scores, an independent t-test was used to compare the mean scores of the experimental and control groups. The results clearly indicated that there was a significant difference between the mean scores of the groups on the posttest of writing (t= 4.46, df= 45, p< 0.05). In other words, the experimental group (M= 13.86) outperformed the control group (M = 9.80) on the posttest of writing. Therefore, it can be concluded that the treatment offered by the researchers, that is, building formal schemata, had a statistically significant effect on the improvement of the writing performance of the experimental group.