EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN STUDENTSí ABILITY OF COMPUTER-BASED CHINESE INPUT AND OTHER VARIABLES ASSOCIATED TO THEIR PERFORMANCES IN COMPOSITION WRITING

 

Computer-based writing is already a norm to a large extent in social communication for any major language around the world. From this perspective, it would be pedagogically sound for students to master the Chinese input system as early as possible. This poses some challenges to students in Singapore, most of which are learning Chinese as a second language, as inputting the non-alphabetic Chinese characters is not as direct as keyboard-based input. In this regard, an exploratory study that involved 419 students from three secondary schools was conducted. The aims of the study were three-folded, (1) To investigate if there is any differences between their performances in computer- and paper-based writing; (2) To determine the relationships between their Chinese input skills and their motivation in learning Chinese and using computers for Chinese assignments; (3) To recommend a cut-off level of pinyin input skill that students need to possess. The target students were first surveyed and then sat in two essay writing tests in the two different mediums. The collected data were quantitatively analyzed. The findings of this study will help to inform various strategies necessary to enhance studentsí ability to carry out computer-based writing, and provide additional ground for the adoption of Chinese input system in formal curriculum and assessments.