Edited by Martin Bygate
[Task-Based Language Teaching 11] 2018
► pp. 143–169
Chapter 6. Effects of task type, task-type repetition, and performance criteria on L2 oral production
This study investigates the impact of task type, task-type repetition, and performance criteria on oral second language production. One hundred and forty-four Chinese learners of English were randomly paired and assigned to either a map task or a picture-story task. Each task type was repeated a week later via a different exemplar. Each experimental group was then further divided between “high” and “low” performance criterion groups, and a control group (CG). Both the high criterion (HC) and the low criterion (LC) groups were informed at the outset that they would be asked to perform an additional activity upon completion of the baseline task. The HC speakers undertook a more demanding post-task activity and the LC group a less demanding one, with no extra post-task requirement for the CG. Analysing participants’ language production in terms of complexity, accuracy, and fluency, a strong effect for task type was observed. Task-type repetition resulted in greater accuracy and affected all fluency measures (though not all in the same direction). Finally, the high criterion condition was positively related to phrasal complexity and fluency on both task types, but negatively associated with subordination complexity on the picture-story task, findings not attested in previous studies. Results are discussed in terms of the limited attentional resources model on second language performance. The study contributes to our understanding of how pre-specified task performance criteria can affect students’ performance of a task.
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