Wim Gombert

128 CHAPTER 8 STUDY 1: READING AND LISTENING AFTER 6 YEARS In the nal three years of the SB program, a massive amount of reading instruction and practice was implemented in the classroom and at home. In contrast, the DUB program students practised their listening and reading skills at home and kept focusing on the development of oral skills in the classroom. As far as reading skills are concerned, the SB program students spent about 32% of class time (125 hours) on the development of reading skills, as opposed to the DUB program students, for whom this ratio was approximately 17% of class time (65 hours) spent on reading skills. e nature and type of the reading activities, too, di ered substantially (explicated in chapter 4). In the nal year of their studies, the 55 SB and 78 DUB learners were compared on their nal reading exam and on the nal (Cito) listening exam. e assumption was that SB students would match their DUB-taught peers in reading skills in their nal two years as they had been preparing a great deal for the central reading exam, but as far as listening skills was concerned, we assumed that the DUB students would continue to outperform their SB peers. e results were in line with our expectations in that the SB and DUB learners had comparative reading comprehension scores, but the DUB learners obtained signi cantly higher listening comprehension scores, with large e ect sizes. STUDY 2: WRITING SKILLS AFTER 6 YEARS An explicit focus on grammar has for years been assumed to be needed for writing skills to develop, partially motivated by early ndings in SLA research, which showed that explicit instruction is more e ective in foreign language acquisition in the realm of written skills (Norris & Ortega, 2000; Spada & Tomita, 2010), and is even considered essential to achieve accuracy in advanced writing (Gunnarsson, 2012). e aim of the second study was to test these claims as the study set out to compare SB students (N=24) to DUB students (N=32) in their written skills mastery in their pre-university program for French, operationalized on the basis of their writing products. e texts that the students produced were assessed with three types of measures: holistically by means of expert ratings on the basis of Complexity, Accuracy, Fluency, Idiomaticity and Coherence (CAFIC) descriptors, they were analyzed automatically with Direkt Pro l so ware, which examined 141 text measures. Finally, they were analyzed analytically on several text measures such as text length, sentence length and lexical diversity. Holistic scores of expert teachers and morphosyntactic pro les that emerged on the basis of the so ware (Direkt Pro l), showed that there were no signi cant di erences between the texts of SB and DUB students, not even in terms of accuracy. However, the DUB students wrote longer sentences and more words per text, which were taken as an index of greater sentence complexity and uency measures on the part of the DUB students.