This study sought to identify what differences, if any, distinguish the writing processes of native English speakers (NESs) and long-term English learners (LTELs). During a 90-minute class period, 9th and 11th grade NES and LTEL students recorded themselves thinking aloud as they composed a writing sample for their English teachers, and completed survey questions related to their writing processes and their levels of attention to different aspects of the writing process. LTELs answered additional questions about their language backgrounds and their use of their languages as they write. Several English teachers also scored the students’ essays. Analysis of the results suggests many similarities between the students’ writing processes, such as limited planning, limited self-regulatory activities, and frequent surface editing. One important difference was the use of code switching. On average, when graded with the state writing rubric, the LTEL students scored half a point higher than the NESs, on a scale of zero to 12. The scale measures written expression and mechanics.

Author Biography

Katherine Brubaker teaches English Learners in grades 8-12 at Stonewall Jackson High School in Shenandoah County. She holds a Master of Education degree from Eastern Mennonite University. This is her twelfth year teaching.