Calibrating Genre: Metacognitive Judgments and Rhetorical Effectiveness in Academic Writing by L2 Graduate Students
Journal article, 2017
Several strands of applied linguistic research have emphasized the importance of genre awareness for academic writing students. Although metacognitive behaviors have been linked to L2 writing proficiency and performance, there is still the need for an account of how and why different metacognitive behaviors can help L2 academic writers to apply genre knowledge in authentic situations. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, this study borrows the framework of calibration from educational psychology to highlight the relationship between the accuracy of graduate students’ metacognitive judgments and the quality of their texts. Within an authentic setting, the nature of metacognitive judgments is calibrated against the assessment of rhetorical effectiveness by teacher raters using genre analysis criteria. Findings show that individual differences in rhetorical effectiveness can be better understood when accuracy of metacognitive judgments is considered along two qualitative dimensions: depth and alignment. Differential achievement relates to the ability to apply genre knowledge to the text, and misalignments in task perceptions and criteria. Implications for genre pedagogy and further research are discussed.