Predicting second language writing proficiency: The roles of cohesion and linguistic sophistication

Scott A. Crossley, Danielle S. McNamara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations


This study addresses research gaps in predicting second language (L2) writing proficiency using linguistic features. Key to this analysis is the inclusion of linguistic measures at the surface, textbase and situation model level that assess text cohesion and linguistic sophistication. The results of this study demonstrate that five variables (lexical diversity, word frequency, word meaningfulness, aspect repetition and word familiarity) can be used to significantly predict L2 writing proficiency. The results demonstrate that L2 writers categorised as highly proficient do not produce essays that are more cohesive, but instead produce texts that are more linguistically sophisticated. These findings have important implications for L2 writing development and L2 writing pedagogy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-135
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Research in Reading
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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