Essay Topic Writability Examined through a Statistical Approach from the College Writer’s Perspective

Harry J. Huang


No published studies have sufficiently focused on essay topic writability from the perspective of college writers of the new millennium including native English speakers and ESL speakers. In this study, 500 college writers in Metro Toronto in Canada were interviewed to uncover if they found some essay topics easier than other topics. The results indicate that over 90% of them did. The interviewees explained that factors determining the writability of an essay topic include knowledge, interest, experience, and data availability. The positive responses are examined along with the negative ones. Cross-comparison confirms consistency between the two groups. In agreement with previous studies, through a statistical approach and by focusing on essay topic writability, this study alerts frontline teachers as well as language testing administrators to the issue of consistency of difficulty of essay topics in examinations, which can lead to improved validity of such writing tests and examinations across disciplines.

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English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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