Research Key

Writing Skills and Academic Achievement: A Comparative Analysis of Anglophone and Francophone Students in the Faculty of Arts

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International: $20
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Qualitative research
Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
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This work set out to examine the relationship between writing skills and academic performance. In other to achieve this, I used previous examination scripts of students in the English and English/French departments of the University of Buea to carry out the study. The hypothesis of this work is that students who perform well in writing will definitely perform well in academics and students who do not do well in writing will likewise perform poorly academically. In order for this hypothesis to be verified, examination scripts were collected and analysed. The scripts were graded under four rubrics: content and organization, format, expression, and mechanics. Based on the results of the findings, it is evident that students who do well in writing will also do well in the academics though there are some exceptions. We propose here that there should be much emphasis in the areas of expression and teachers should organize educative activities in order to help the students grow in writing skills and to expose them to many new words so as to increase their vocabulary. This will in turn lead to an improvement in their academic performance.

                                                       CHAPTER ONE

                                          GENERAL INTRODUCTION


The genesis of language is not to be sought in the Prosaic but in the poetic side of life, the source of speech is not gloomy seriousness, but merry play and hilarity. In the primitive speech, I hear the laughing cries of exultation when lads and lassies vied with one another to attract the attention of the other sex when everybody sang his merriest and danced his bravest to lure a pair of eyes to throw admiring glances in his direction. The language was born in the courting days of mankind. (NgohY. (2001:01))

This excerpt suggests that language is essentially linked to the emotional rather than the intellectual life of humans. This may be true in preliterate societies. Written language seems to be different. A writing system develops when people begin to use language as a tool for thinking. We seek in this project to investigate the relationship between an aspect of language (writing skills) and academic achievement.

Background to the Study

The English language is a Germanic language despite the mixed nature of its vocabulary that has a good number of words from different languages. Different Low German tribes, Saxons, Jutes and Angles, (later called English), invaded England for settlement around AD 450. These invaders gradually succeeded in sending the Celts away who had their place in Great Britain. In spite of these, the Celts are still represented in Great Britain by Modem welsh and Highland Scotch. The prevailing literacy language has been English (a literacy speech that has gradually developed out of the earlier Low German dialects.).

The English language has grown to the status of a global language and is today, the leading language of science, and technology as well as art and culture.

English was introduced in Cameroon after the First World War when the Germans (who had been the colonial masters of Cameroon) were defeated. Cameroon was partitioned between Britain and France to administer as mandated territories of the League of Nations. English and French were, therefore, introduced as languages of administration in the British and French territories respectively. At independence, the British administered territory chose by vote to reunite with the French East, and following the Foumban conference of 17-21 July 1961, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Cameroon was finally produced pointing out that English and These languages are still in use today in Education at the Primary, Secondary, High Schools and Universities.

However, the use of English language as a language of education has not been without problems. This work sets out to examine how the mastery of writing skills in

Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this work is to examine the relationship between writing skills and academic performance of ESL students at a tertiary level.

The specific objectives include the following:

1)      Compare the writing skills of tertiary level students from francophone and Anglophone backgrounds.

2)      Assess the incidence on the academic performance of both categories.

3)      Identify the elements of writing (expression, organization etc.) that has the most influence on academic achievement.


This work is guided by the hypothesis that learners who perform well in writing, will also perform well in academics and vice versa. In other words, writing skills are directly proportionate to academic achievement.

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