Arab World English Journal
AWEJ Vol.2 No.3 August 2011                                                                                                 pp. 141-167

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Analytic or Impressionistic Evaluation of EFL Jordanian Students’
Composition Performance?

Dr. Khalaf Al-Makhzoomi
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education
Yarmouk University, Jordan
Dr. Saleh Freihat
English Department, Faculty of Arts
Isra University, Jordan

Abstract
Evaluating composition performance among English as a foreign language (EFL) students has become increasingly difficult because of the nature of the writing skill itself. This study discusses how EFL Jordanian teachers can use its results to help improve their students’ writing ability. Specifically, it aims at finding a measure for EFL composition which would increase its grading reliability and improve its teaching to EFL Jordanian students. The researchers compared the analytic composition grading method with the impressionistic one. They graded a sample of 90 EFL Jordanian students’ composition scripts impressionistically and then analytically using the analysis of variance to estimate the reliability for the scripts’ graders on the 2 methods. The study showed that the analytic method has pedagogical advantages over the impressionistic one in that it lays the foundation of the relevant elements of good writing and when the writing teachers calculate the marks in the marking scheme for their students, they can discover some strength and see where their efforts are successful, where their students need special attention and where to locate areas for improvement. Further pieces of research on EFL writing are recommended to document and analyse the practical pedagogical knowledge of highly experienced EFL Jordanian composition teachers.

Keywords: analytic / impressionistic evaluation; composition performance; EFL writing; EFL writing instruction.

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Khalaf Falah Al-Makhzoomi is an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and
Instruction, Faculty of Education, Yarmouk University, Irbid-Jordan. He holds a PhD in Teaching
English as a Foreign Language ( TEFL), and he has a background in English teaching and research
into TEFL as well as English for Specific Purposes (ESP). He has taught students and trained
teachers of English in Jordan for a long time.
Saleh Mohmoud Farah Freihat is an assistant professor in the English Department, Faculty of
Arts, Isra University, Amman – Jordan. He has a PhD in English Language Curriculum and
Instruction. He has a background of English teaching and research into Teaching English as a
Foreign Language (TEFL) as well as English for Specific Purposes (ESP). He has taught students
and trained teachers in both areas in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and Jordan.