MASK – Modeling of Integrated Academic-Language Compentences

The aim of the MASK project is the empirical foundation of the competence construct that underlies the successful completion of integrated academic-language tasks in a context of English as second language. The current project is a continuation of the first project phase that has been running since 01/2020. The core element is the development and testing of valid criteria for the assessment of integrated writing products, which can be used to comprehensively and differentially record the skills required for successful task completion.

Project Description

With the increasing internationalisation of higher education, academic-linguistic competences of students are not only required in their first language (L1), but also in foreign and second languages (L2). English as a lingua franca is of particular importance here. In the area of international degree programmes, there have been studies on academic-language requirements, but these usually focus on the competencies of international students. On the other hand, the competence requirements of German students in the language of instruction English have not been researched in international degree programs.

Written language skills are of particular importance in the university context, especially the production of texts on the basis of previously read texts (reading-into-writing), both in German and English-speaking degree programmes. There is a broad consensus in the literature that academic literacy skills in L2 comprise several sub-skills and should therefore be considered multidimensional. In addition to writing skills, the construct includes reading skills. Furthermore, the construct is characterized by general foreign language skills, knowledge of discourse synthesis within specific cultural and sociolinguistic contexts, and the ability to interpret the context of writing tasks. However, there is a need for research on the question of whether academic literacy in L2 can be fully explained by the sum of underlying sub-competences, or whether additional specific competences are required to cope with the combined demands.

Project Objectives

The overall goal of the project is to empirically establish the competence construct underlying the successful completion of integrated academic-linguistic tasks in an English as a second language context. The core element for achieving this goal is the development and testing of valid criteria for assessing integrated writing products. Building on the work done in the first phase of the project, the continuation of the project will pursue four objectives to consolidate and extend the knowledge gained so far about the construct of academic-language competence: 

  1. an in-depth analysis of the processes involved in the processing of integrated tasks
  2. an in-depth investigation of the quality of human judgments made by raters with and without expertise
  3. an in-depth investigation of the dimensionality of human judgments and computer-based text scoring
  4. to develop models for predicting human judgments from computer-based analyses


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Project Management

Project Team

Ximena Delgado Osorio

Project Details

Current project
Area of Focus Education in the Digital World
Department: Teacher and Teaching Quality
Unit: Educational Measurement
Education Sector: Higher Education
01/2020 – 09/2025
External funding
Contact: Ximena Delgado Osorio, Doctoral Candidate