Assessing functional adequacy across tasks: A comparison of learners’ and native speakers’ written texts






This study aims to explore further the applicability of the six-point rating scale elaborated by Kuiken and Vedder (2017) to assess functional adequacy. According to the authors, functional adequacy (FA) is a multidimensional construct combining successful task completion and the effective transmission of a message from a speaker or writer to a hearer or reader. Kuiken and Vedder’s scale has been mainly applied to written L2 output in previous research, whereas in this study it is tested on both L1 and L2 written texts, elicited by means of different tasks. The texts, produced by 20 non-native and 20 native speakers of Italian, were rated by seven non-expert raters, trained to use the scale. The results showed low levels of absolute inter-rater agreement and consistency, especially for L1 texts. On the other hand, our findings are more encouraging with regard to the reliability of the scale and its applicability across tasks. The results also revealed a strong correlation between FA scores and those obtained in a C-test used as an independent measure of general L2 proficiency.

Author Biographies

Elena Nuzzo, Università Roma Tre

Elena Nuzzo is an associate professor of modern language instruction in the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Roma Tre University. Her work focuses on research, education, and teacher training in the field of applied linguistics, with a specific interest in Italian as a second language. Her main areas of research include the practical applications of Speech Act theory in the learning and teaching of second languages, intercultural pragmatics, and task-based language teaching.

Giuseppe Bove, Università Roma Tre

Giuseppe Bove is a professor of statistics in the Department of Education at Roma Tre University. He has also taught at the University of Siena and Sapienza University of Rome. He conducts research in the field of multivariate statistics, with a particular focus on data analysis methods (factor analysis and multidimensional scaling) and their application to the assessment of learning in national and international educational surveys.



How to Cite

Nuzzo, E., & Bove, G. (2020). Assessing functional adequacy across tasks: A comparison of learners’ and native speakers’ written texts. EuroAmerican Journal of Applied Linguistics and Languages, 7(2), 9–27.



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