Task Difficulty and Its Components: Are They Alike or Different across Different Macro-genres?

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

Payame Noor University, Tehran

Abstract

Task difficulty across different macro-genres continues to remain among less attended areas in second language development studies. This study examined the correlation between task difficulty across the descriptive, narrative, argumentative, and expository macro-genres. The three components of task difficulty (i.e., code complexity, cognitive complexity, and communicative stress) were also compared in the four macro-genres. The design included the administration of short reading texts with comparable length and readability indices based on the four macro-genres followed by task difficulty questionnaire. The macro-genre-based reading textsalong with the task difficulty questionnaire were administered to 50 EFL students in the University ofLorestan, Iran. Task difficulty questionnaire explored the learners’ perceptions of task difficulty in the code complexity, cognitive complexity, and communicative stress domains. The results revealed that there were no significant differences among the task difficulty components in the four macro-genre-based text types. The findings also showed that there was no significant correlation between task difficulty of each macro-genre with those of the other genres except thoseofthe narrative and expository genres.The findings hold implications for the use of macro-genres with different task difficulty indices in task-oriented programs, teacher training, and testing.

Keywords