Reaching the stars
The data contain 40 IELTS Task One texts. 15 texts written by non-native speakers; 25 texts written by natives selected for error analysis. The three authors identified, classified and quantified the errors, based initially on Hylands (2005) and other frameworks; however, these were found to be insufficient. We then developed a much larger framework covering the three main categories of ‘communication mode’, ‘morpheme form and meaning’, and ‘syntax and structure’, with various specific error points. In the article, we do not give guidance in error correction itself. We have only identified the errors made by students and worked this into the development of a master table which can be used as a model for both teachers and learners worldwide. Statistically, more errors are in meaning-bearing items, including false friends, L1 transfer, interlanguage, wrong word use, syntax used with the wrong semantic force, and so on. Mistakes in grammar as such seem to be statistically relatively rare – yet so many of us teachers focus more on grammar than on meaning transfer. The table helps refocus on meaning. We targeted CEFR B2 (ACTFL A-L/M/H) English level students in our study. Generally, students at the CEFR B1 level (ACTFL IH) make slower progress and plateau. It is important for students at this level to consciously raise their awareness. This table can be useful for both teachers and learners to give a “statistical” set of figures of where the student has most difficulties and therefore needs to work a bit more. Teachers, therefore, can (re)design their coursework according to the frequency of the errors identified by the table.