This study sought to examine and analyze the frequency of writing errors and determine the causes behind such errors made by first time test takers of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) academic writing essay-Task 2. The four criteria specified for the IELTS Writing Band Scores (British Council, 2019) were taken into consideration. A corpus of Japanese adult learners academic writing Task 2 essays in an Intensive Writing Course were carefully examined to determine the main writing errors following the procedure for Error Analysis proposed by Corder (1967). The research adopted an analytical descriptive approach. The findings revealed that verb tense, article errors, spelling and subject-verb agreement were the most common writing errors made by learners. With regards to cohesion, coherence and lexical resource, poor progression in paragraphs, parts of the essay being incomprehensible, vague topic sentences, poor use of transition signals and incorrect use of target lexical items were the most common categories of errors. According to the results it is revealed that male learners made more written errors in comparison to female learners. Based on the findings of the most common recurring errors, recommendations and suggestions that are of significant importance to educators, EFL learners and policymakers were presented in detail.
Leveth Jackson, Keiai University, Japan
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