Olson is director of both the WRITE Center and the UCI/National Writing Project. A professor in the Department of Education at the University of California, Irvine, she received her Ph.D. in American Literature from UCLA. Olson has authored several books, including The Reading/Writing Connection, and published over thirty journal articles on interactive strategies for teaching writing, fostering critical thinking through writing, applying multiple intelligences theory to language arts instruction, using multicultural literature with students of culturally diverse backgrounds, and more.
Chung is the director of research for the UCI Writing Project overseeing the research efforts of the Pathway Project’s OELA and i3 grants. For his doctoral work, he specialized in Learning, Cognition, and Development and Language, Literacy, and Technology; his interests in teacher education and professional development for English Language Arts teachers bridge the two concentrations. Upon completing his dissertation, Chung served as a post-doctoral scholar at UC Davis managing and working on three federally funded programs regarding formative assessments in mathematics, testing accommodations for English Learners, and an evaluation of the Writing Reform and Innovation for Teaching Excellence (WRITE) professional development program.
With a premium placed on academic writing in the U.S. secondary education context, adolescent L2 students are expected to develop advanced skills to analyze, interpret, and produce complex texts in a variety of content areas, which require proficiency in academic language. To enhance the academic literacy of developing L2 writers and to meet their linguistic needs, it is crucial to identify the unique language features of their academic writing. This study seeks to examine syntactic and lexical features of the text-based analytical essays written by Spanish-speaking L2 students (7th–12th grades) from a public school in a western state of the United States. Employing manual sentence coding and quantitative measures of selected linguistic variables from Coh- Metrix, we analyzed student texts (N = 86) to identify common linguistic patterns and to examine how these linguistic features predict writing quality. Our findings reveal that sentence boundary issues, lack of syntactic variety, the underuse of sophisticated subordination to show connections between ideas, and low use of advanced vocabulary are common in adolescent L2 students’ writing. The results of regression analyses show that syntactic complexity and lexical sophistication predict human-judged writing quality. Implications for pedagogy to address the linguistic needs of adolescent L2 students are discussed.