The Interplay of Emotional Intelligence, EFL Students’ Gender, and their Writing Performance: A Correlational Study of Iranian University Students

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 5th floor, Department of English Language, Faculty of Foreign Languages, South Allameh St, Modiriat Fly-over, Chamran Highway, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran, Iran

2 Allameh Tabataba’i University

Abstract

This study was an attempt to examine the relationship between EFL students’ EI, their gender, and writing performance. To this end, 30 female and 27 male English B.A. students, studying at Allameh Tabataba’i University, participated in this study. After checking the homogeneity of the participants through a TOEFL test, Bar-On EQ-i questionnaire (Bar-On, 1997) was administered in order to measure the participants’ emotional intelligence. Besides, their writing performance was measured by their writing course final grades. Three Pearson product moment correlation coefficients and a Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) were run to analyze the relationships and interactions among the variables of emotional intelligence, gender, and writing performance. The findings revealed that there was a positive relationship between the participants’ EI and their writing performance. Furthermore, the female participants had a higher emotional intelligence compared to the male participants. However, no difference was found between the male and female participants’ writing performance. The obtained results of this study have had several implications in the fields of English teaching, language testing, and syllabus design and materials development.
 
چکیده: این تحقیق به منظور بررسی رابطه ی بین هوش هیجانی دانشجویان زبان انگلیسی، جنسیت، و مهارت نگارش آنها انجام شده است. بدین منظور، 30 دانشجوی زن  و ٢٧ دانشجوی مرد مقطع کارشناسی ادبیات انگلیسی دانشگاه علامه طباطبایی در این تحقیق شرکت کردند. پس از بررسی تجانس شرکت کنندگان با استفاده از آزمون تافل، پرسشنامه هوش هیجانی بار-آن به منظور اندازه گیری هوش هیجانی شرکت کنندگان استفاده شد. سپس، مهارت نگارش آنها توسط نمرات پایانی واحد درسی نگارش آنان سنجیده شد. به منظور تحلیل روابط و کنش های موجود بین متغیرهای جنسیت، هوش هیجانی، و مهارت نگارش از سه ضریب همبستگی پیرسون و یک مقیاس مستقل منووا (تحلیل چند متغیره واریانس) استفاده شد. نتایج تجزیه تحلیل داده ها نشان دادند که رابطه ی آماری مثبتی بین هوش هیجانی شرکت کنندگان و مهارت نگارش آنها وجود داشت. علاوه بر این، شرکت کنندگانزن نسبت به شرکت کنندگان مرد  از هوش هیجانی بالاتری برخوردار بودند. با این وجود، هیچ تفاوتی بین مهارت نگارش شرکت کنندگان زن و مرد  وجود نداشته است. نتایج به دست آمده از این تحقیق کاربردهای مختلفی در زمینه های آموزش زبان انگلیسی، آزمون سازی زبان انگلیسی، و برنامه ریزی و تهیه متون آموزشی دارد.
کلید واژه ها: پرسشنامه هوش هیجانی بار-آن، دانشجویان زبان انگلیسی به عنوان زبان خارجی، هوش هیجانی، جنسیت، عملکرد نگارش

Keywords

Main Subjects


Introduction
Language  learning  is  a  complex  process.  It  deals  with  fundamental  issues  such  as  language
knowledge,  cognition,  and  the  affective  nature  of  individuals.  Besides,  the  emotional 
  
intelligence  of  the  learners  is  one  influential  factor  in  every  learning  situation.  As  Mulder
(2009, p. 60) believes,  “Emotional intelligence  is a relatively new field of study”, which
covers  all  human  abilities,  and  to  some  degree,  skills  in  the  affective  domain  (Goleman,
2001). According to Goleman’s view, it involves the perception of feelings and management
of emotions. 
On the other hand, schools have attempted for many decades to foresee which students
would  be  better  in  both  the  education  and  workplace.  Many  of  these  schools  have  used
standardized  achievement  tests  and  intelligence  quotient  (IQ)  scores  as  a  way  to  give  their
best guesses. However, Abdolrezapour (2013, p. 331) mentioned some recent studies, which
showed  that  a  child’s  emotional  intelligence  can  be  a  better  predictor  for  measuring  the
students’ success. In this regard she stated, “Experts now believe that success is influenced
20% by IQ and 80% by various factors that constitute a person’s character or personality, or
their  emotional  intelligence”  (p.331).  Therefore,  if  the  teachers  intend  to  enhance  their
students’  second  language  skills,  if  it  is  possible,  they  ought  to  increase  the  students’
emotional intelligence abilities.
Unlike  IQ,  which  remains  constant  throughout  a  person’s life, EI can be developed,
learned,  and  strengthened  over  time.  Researchers  suggest  that  people  can  acquire,  through
training, both knowledge and skills in the area of emotional intelligence (Salovey, Mayer, &
Caruso,  2002).  In  spite  of  many  available  materials  that  can  be  cultivated  in  schools’
curricula in order to enhance school children’s emotional intelligence (Salovey, Mayer, &
Caruso,  2002),  few  researches  and  empirical  studies  were  done  on  the  ways  through  which
second-language learners’ EI could be raised.
However,  there  is  broad  consensus  on  the  point  that  emotional  intelligence  offers  a
solution  for  many  of  the  factors  that  affect  learning  in  general.  Therefore,  emotional
intelligence  skills  are  relatively  related  to  foreign  language  learning  and  subsequently  to
language  skills  development.  To  this  end,  this  study  seeks  to  find  out  whether  there  is  a
relationship  between  the  EFL  students’  emotional  intelligence,  gender,  and  their  writing
performance.  
 
Literature Review
Intelligence  is  an  unstable  term  to  define.  It  has  undertaken  different  evaluations,  from
intelligence as a one-dimensional concept (Binet, 1904), to intelligence as a multiple concept
(Gardner,  1983),  and  eventually,  to  intelligence  as  an  emotional  notion  (Salovey  &  Mayer, 
 
1990). Salovey, Mayer, Caruso, and Lopes (2003) defined emotional intelligence as an ability
which focuses on the perception and expression of emotion accurately and adaptively; along
with the ability to understand the emotional knowledge, use feelings to facilitate thought, and
to regulate emotions, in not only oneself but also others. Emotional intelligence is as old as
time.  In  the  1870s,  Darwin  published  the  first  modern  book  on  the  role  of  emotional
expression  in  survival  and  adaptation  (Stein  &  Book,  2006).  In  the  1920s,  the  American
psychologist, Thorndike proposed that humans possess several types of intelligence, one form
being called social intelligence, or the ability to understand and manage men and women, and
to act wisely in human relations (Thorndike, 1920). 
Originally,  the  term  “emotional  intelligence”  was  mentioned  by  Leuner  (1966);
however,  it  is  usually  attributed  to  Payne's  doctoral  dissertation  “A  study  of  Emotions:
Developing  Emotional  Intelligence”  (Payne,  1985).  Three  years  later,  in  1988,  Bar-On
mentioned the term “emotional quotient” in his dissertation; a term commonly used today to
refer to an individual’s emotional intelligence score. Few years later, Salovey and Mayer
tried  to  answer  why  some  individuals  are  better  at  recognizing  emotions  than  others,  where
they  first  used  the  term  “emotional  intelligence”  (Mayer,  DiPaolo,  &  Salovey,  1990).  In
1980s,  Bar-On,  one  of  the  founding  fathers  of  emotional  intelligence,  began  to  study  how
emotions affect people’s functioning. Using his own work and that of the earlier researchers,
he  began  to  develop  an  emotional  quotient,  or  EQ  test,  for  emotional  intelligence,  the  first
scientifically valid assessment for emotional intelligence. Then in 1995, Goleman published
the book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” where he showed the
weakness  of  the  traditional  IQ  measurement  and  offered  the  “proof”  that  emotional
intelligence is the strongest indicator of human success.
As  to  the  EI  models,  Petrides  and  Furnham  (2000)  listed  three  main  models  namely
hierarchical model, (cognitive) ability EI model, and mixed models (personality variables and
cognitive  ability).  Other  scholars  have  also  proposed  other  EI  models.  The  most  frequently
used models and measures of EI are presented as follows:
1. Ability EI model: Salovey and Mayer's (1990) conception of EI, which perceives EI
as a form of pure intelligence, that is, emotional intelligence is a cognitive ability. The
current  measure  of  their  model  of  EI  is  the  Mayer-Salovey-Caruso  Emotional
Intelligence Test (MSCEIT).
2.  Mixed  model  of  EI  (usually  subsumed  under  trait  EI):  this  model,  introduced  by
Goleman  (1998),  focuses  on  EI  as  a  wide  array  of  competencies  and  skills  that  drive 
 
 
leadership performance. Two measurement tools are introduced based on this model: 1.
The  Emotional  Competency  Inventory  (ECI),  and  2.  The  Emotional  Intelligence
Appraisal (EIA).
3. Trait EI model: Trait EI refers to an individual’s self-perceptions of their emotional
abilities.  This  model  is  measured  by  Trait  Emotional  Intelligence  Questionnaire
(TEIQue; Petrides, & Furnham, 2001).
Investigating the role of emotional factors in second language learning is not something
novel. Research studies  done on EQ so far paid  attention to EQ as a predictor of success in
transition  from  high  school  to  university  (Parker,  Summerfeldt,  Hogan,  &  Majeski,  2004).
The most important research with regard to the role of EQ in second language learning is the
work of Fahim and Pishghadam (2007), in which they explored the relationship between EQ,
IQ,  and  verbal  intelligence  and  the  academic  achievement  of  students  majoring  in  English
language.  Very recently, few studies touched the point of using literature-based activities to
raise  the students’  EI  (Abdolrezapour &  Tavakoli,  2012;  Shao,  Yu, &  Ji,  2013).  In  both
studies,  before  the  experiment,  a  writing  test  and  the  TEIQue-ASF  (Trait  Emotional
Intelligence  Questionnaire-Adolescent  Short  Form)  were  administered.  They  both  had  two
groups,  an  experimental  and  a  control  group.  The  learners  in  the  experimental  group  were
thought  the  English  course  with  emotional  activities  and  those  in  the  control  group  were
taught  based  on  the  ordinary  approaches  with  texts  devoid  of  emotional  words.  After  the
experiment,  both  groups  were  asked  to  write  on  another  topic  and  the  TEIQue-ASF  was
administered  again.  The  results  in  both  studies  showed  that  in  the  experimental  groups,  the
students’  scores  were  significantly  higher  than  those  in  the  control  group;  both  in  the
TEIQue-ASF  and  the  writing  post-test.  In  fact,  the  results  showed  that  the  experimental
group’s EI was significantly higher compared to that of the control group. Subsequently, it
was concluded that there is a relatively positive relationship between the learners’ emotional
intelligence and their writing performance.
On the other hand, different results were found regarding the role of gender differences
in  emotional  intelligence.  The  results  of  most  of  the  studies  revealed  that  there  is  no
significant  difference  between  males  and  females  regarding  their  overall  emotional
intelligence  (Bar-On,  2006;  Brackett  &  Mayer,  2003;  Dawda  &  Hart,  2000;  Schutte  et  al.,
1998). However, some studies reported that females are higher in their emotional intelligence
compared to males (Davis, 2012; Harrod & Scheer, 2005; Singh, 2002; Sutarso, 1999), and in
some  others  males  were  found  with  higher  level  of  emotional  intelligence  than  females 
(Ahmad, Bangash, & Khan, 2009; Khalili, 2011).
Considering  the  aforementioned  studies,  this  study  in  particular,  investigates  the
relationship  between  emotional  intelligence,  gender,  and  writing  performance  of  Iranian
undergraduate EFL students and intends to answer the following research questions:
1.  Is  there  any  statistically  significant  relationship  between  the  students’  emotional
intelligence and their writing performance?
2.  Is there any statistically significant relationship between the students’ gender and
their emotional intelligence?
3.  Is there any statistically significant relationship between the students’ gender and
their writing performance?
4.  Is there any interaction between the students’ gender, emotional intelligence, and
their writing performance?
 
Method
Participants and Research Setting
The  participants  of  this  study  were  30  female  and  27  male  adult  learners  of  English,  aged
between  19  and  35;  all  sophomore  and  junior  B.A.  English  literature  students  at  Allameh
Tabataba’i University. They were all Iranian and native speakers of Persian. All the subjects
had passed a writing course, i.e. advanced writing course. The participants were chosen based
on convenience sampling. However, in order to check and re-ensure the homogeneity of the
participants, a retired version of TOEFL (ETS, 2003) was administered to 68 subjects. Since
it was found that the data were normally distributed, Z=.98, p>0.05, those participants whose
scores  were  between  1  standard  deviation  (SD)  above  and  below  the  mean  score  were
considered as the actual participants of the study. As a result, 57 participants were picked and
served as the final participants of the present study.
 
Instrumentation
In  order  to  address  the  mentioned  research  questions,  three  instruments  were  employed  as
follows: 
1. TOEFL Proficiency Test: A retired version of TOEFL (ETS, 2003) was administered
in order to check the homogeneity of the participants at the outset of the study. 
2. Bar-On EQ-i Questionnaire: To measure the EI of the subjects, the main version of
the  Bar-On  Emotional  Quotient  Inventory  (EQ-i;  Bar-On,  1997)  was  administered  at  the 
 
      
beginning  of  the  study.  In  order  to  re-ensure  its  reliability,  the  questionnaire  was  piloted  in
advance  on  30  EFL  students  with  the  same  characteristics  as  the  main  participants  of  the
study.  This  questionnaire  is  a  self-report  scale  including  132  items  in  the  form  of  short
sentences.  It  employs  a  five-point  Likert  scale  continuum  with  a  textual  response  format
ranging from “Never true of me (number 1)” to “Always true of me (number 5)”, which was
completed in about 20 minutes. 
3.  Writing Assessment: Each student’s writing final exam was assessed according to
Jacobs  et  al.’s  (1981)  ESL  Composition  Profile.  Based  on  that  rubric,  one  overall  score
(including their final exam score and their assignments inside and outside of the classroom),
out of 20, was given to each student to determine their writing performance.
 
Data Collection Procedures
In  order  to  investigate  the  relationship  between  the  participants’  gender,  emotional
intelligence,  and  their  writing  performance,  the  following  procedures  were  applied.  To
commence the study  and get the reliable data, 68 participants expressed their willingness to
take  part  in  the  study.  However,  for  ensuring  their  homogeneity,  a  TOEFL  test  was
administered and, based on the results, 57 participants were selected as the main subjects of
the  study.  The  reliability  of  the  Bar-On  EQ-i  questionnaire  was  tested  first  and  then
administered to check the baseline difference of the selected students’ emotional intelligence.
Consequently,  these  participants  had  their  writing  courses  being  taught  by  the  same
professor. The participants were asked to submit their assignments such as essays and writing
samples per session. The final course scores, which consist of both the participants’ final
exam scores and their classroom portfolios and participation’s scores, were used as a measure
to  determine  the  writing  performance  of  the  participants.  Finally,  the  acquired  data  was  fed
into Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS) for data analysis.
 
Design and Data Analysis
This  study  enjoyed  an  ex  post  facto  Correlational  design,  in  which  the  researcher  had  no
control  over  what  has  already  happened  to  the  participants.  To  provide  answers  to  the
research  questions,  primarily,  a  descriptive  analysis  was  run  followed  by  one-sample
Kolmogorov-Smirnov  test  to  check  whether  the  mean  scores  of  the  participants’ TOEFL,
emotional  intelligence,  and  writing  scores  were  in  normal  distribution.  Subsequently,  three
Pearson correlation coefficients were administered, using SPSS version 16, in order to assess 
 
 whether  a  significant  relationship  exists  among  the  variables  of  gender,  emotional
intelligence, and writing scores. It is important to note that this analysis was used to respond
to research questions 1,  2, and 3. Moreover, an independent measures MANOVA  (Multiple
Analysis  of  Variance)  was  run  to  analyze  the  interaction  between  emotional  intelligence,
gender, and the students’ writing performance, and to answer research question 4.
 
Results
Results of Pearson Correlation to Respond to the First Research Question
The  first  research  question  of  the  present  study  was  whether  there  is  any  statistically
significant  relationship  between  the  students’  emotional  intelligence  and  their  writing
performance. A Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was utilized to examine this
research question. The results are indicated in Table 1.


 

According  to  Table  1,  there  was  a  positive  correlation  between  the  EI  scores  and  writing
scores and this relationship is statistically significant since r = .75, N = 57, p <.05. This result
indicates  that  as  the  EI  scores  increased,  the  writing  scores  increased  as  well,  and  this
relationship is both significant and strong. 
Results of Pearson Correlation to Respond to the Second Research Question
The second research question of the present study examined whether there is any statistically
significant  relationship between the students’ gender and their emotional intelligence. Since
the obtained data were normal, it was feasible to run the Pearson product moment correlation
coefficient to investigate this research question.  The results of this analysis are  displayed in
Table 2.

Table 2. The Results of the Pearson Correlation Coefficient for EI Scores across Gender

Table 2 demonstrates that there is a strong positive correlation between the males’ EI
scores and the females’ EI scores, and this positive correlation is statistically significant, i.e.,
r = .98, p<.05. In other words, it means that as the female students’ EI scores increased, the
males’ EI scores increased as well, and this relationship is statistically significant.
Results of Pearson Correlation to Respond to the Third Research Question
The  third  research  question  of  the  present  study  was  whether  there  is  any  statistically
significant  relationship  between  the  students’  gender  and  their  writing  performance.  A
Pearson  product  moment  correlation  coefficient  was  run  to  explore  this  research  question.
The results of this analysis are provided in Table 3.

 
Table 3. The Results of the Pearson Correlation Coefficient for the Writing Scores across Gender

 

Table 3 demonstrates that there is a positive and strong correlation between the males’
writing scores and the females’ writing scores, and this positive correlation is statistically
significant, i.e., r = .96, p< .05. In other words, it means that as the females’ writing scores
increased, the males’ writing scores increased, and this relationship is strong and statistically
significant.
Results of MANOVA Test to Respond to the Fourth Research Question
The  last  research  question  of  the  present  study  examined  whether  there  is  any
interaction  between  the  students’  emotional  intelligence,  their  gender,  and  writing

performance.  In  order  to  answer  this  question,  a  Multivariate  Analysis  of  Variance
(MANOVA) was run. Table 4 indicates the main results of the Multivariate Test.

Table 4. The Results of the Multivariate Tests for Gender, Writing Performance, and EI
Scores.

The  results  of  Table  4  reveal  that  the  writing  scores  and  EI  scores  were  together  being
influenced by gender, since F (2.54) = 41.87, p<.05; Wilks’ lambda = 0.39. In other words, overall, a
significant  effect  of  gender  on  both  the  writing  performance  and  EI  scores  was  observed.  This
difference was also found to be meaningful since a relatively high effect size was obtained (ηp2=
0.67). In order to see where the differences lie, the test of between subject effects must be checked.
Table 5 reports the main results of the effect of gender on each of these two variables individually.

Table 5. The Effect of Gender on the Writing Performance and EI Scores

Table 5 reveals that there was a significant effect of gender on the EI scores since F (1,
55) = 24.83, p< .05; in other words, the females (with the mean of 473.30) had significantly
greater EI in comparison with the males (with the mean of 416.93). This difference was also
found to be meaningful due to the moderate effect size (ηp2= .31).
However, no significant effect of gender on the writing performance was found since F
(1, 55) =.19, p >.05. Therefore, it can be stated that although there was a slight difference in
the means of the writing scores for the males (with the mean of 17.83) and females (with the
mean of 18.01), this difference was not statistically significant, and both males and females
performed almost similarly in the writing test.
Based  on  the  results,  a  significant  difference  was  found  between  the  males’  and
females’  EI  scores  while  no  significant  difference  was  found  between  the  males’  and
females’ writing scores.
 
Discussions
In this section, the results of the present study are discussed in the light  of previous studies
done on emotional intelligence and writing performance. 
The first main finding of the study and the result of the first research question was the
positive relationship between the students’ emotional intelligence scores and their writing
scores.  In  other  words,  the  students  with  higher  emotional  intelligence  performed  better  on
their writing test. This finding is in line with that of Abdolrezapour (2013), Ghasemi, Behjat,
and Kargar (2013), and  Shao, Yu, and Ji (2013) whose results revealed a relatively positive
relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and writing performance. As Abdolrezapour
(2013), and Shao, Yu, and Ji (2013) concluded, literature-based activities, which include the
use of highly emotional short stories and talking about the students’ emotions and writing a
topic-related  composition  related  to  the  story,  have  a  significant  positive  effect  on  the  EFL
students’  EI.  Comparatively,  Ghasemi,  Behjat,  and  Kargar  (2013,  p.  205)  came  to  the
conclusion that: “With the improvement of the EFL university students’ writing, their control
and management of their emotion increased. This leads to their better performances in their
writing tasks.” In addition, a great deal of literature has documented evidence supporting the
positive relationship between EI and academic success such as studies conducted by Parker et
al. (2004); and Parker, Summerfeldt, Hogan, and Majeski (2004).
One probable question that may be raised is how to explain the high correlation of the
students’  emotional  intelligence  and  their  writing  scores.  One  plausible  answer  may  be 
 

related  to  the  nature  of  writing  in  that  the  writer  must  take  into  account  the  goals  of  the
addressee  in  order  to  realize  a  meaningful  and  socially  appropriate  communication  only
through  words.  This  appropriate  communication  can  be  accomplished  if  the  writer
understands  the  nature  of  writer-reader  relationship  and  draws  greatly  on  his  or  her
empathetic and social abilities. Considering the social and affective nature of EI and its great
role in cognitive functioning (Schutte, Schuetplez, & Malouff, 2001) and communication, it
can be plausible that the students with higher level of emotional intelligence would be able to
write better.
The  second  finding  of  the  present  study  was  the  significant  effect  of  participants’
gender on their EI scores in that the females had significantly greater EI in comparison with
the males. This finding is consistent with those of Davis, (2012), Harrod and Scheer (2005),
Sanchez-Nunez, Fernandez-Berrocal, Montanes, and Latorre (2008), Singh (2002), and Tapia
(1998),  who  all  claimed  that  El  scores  tend  to  go  down  for  males  in  comparison  with  the
females.
Sanchez-Nunez  et  al.  (2008)  investigated  the  socialization  of  emotional  competencies
in men and women and believed that women are more competent in their emotions compared
to  men.  Then,  they  provided  some  reasons.  They  stated  that  women  are  more  emotionally
expressive  than  men,  they  understand  emotions  better  and  have  greater  abilities  in  certain
interpersonal  skills.  They  can  recognize  the  other  people’s  emotions  better,  be  more
receptive,  and  have  greater  sympathy.  Sanchez-Nunez  et  al.  continued  with  the  possible
explanations. One reason can be the fact that the parents talk more about emotions with their
girls  more  often  than  with  their  boys.  The  other  one  is  related  to  the  fact  that  girls  develop
verbal  skills  earlier  than  boys.  This  means  that  they  are  more  skillful  in  expressing  their
emotions  and  are  more  experienced  in  using  words.  This  causes  girls  to  have  richer  and
greater  verbal  recourses.  Therefore,  girls  have  more  information  about  the  emotional  world
and  can  speak  more  about  the  feelings  and  use  more  emotional  words  compared  to  boys.
Consequently,  those  girls  are  more  proficient  at  understanding  the  verbal  and  non-verbal
emotional signs, communicating their emotions and getting other person’s feelings from the
face,  voice,  and  through  other  non-verbal  messages.  Besides  these  competence  differences,
Sanchez-Nunez et al. (2008) mentioned some differences in the females’ brain that is related
to the emotional function of the brain. 
However,  the  findings  of  the  present  study  conflicted  with  others  (Bar-On,  2006;
Brackett & Mayer, 2003; Dawda & Hart, 2000; Lim, 2011; Schutte et al., 1998), who claimed 
 
    
that  there  is  no  significant  difference  between  males  and  females  regarding  their  overall
emotional  intelligence.  For  instance,  Bar-On  (2006)  investigated  the  ESI  of  males  and
females  as  measured  by  EQ-i.  He  asserted  that  no  difference  has  been  revealed  between
males  and  females  regarding  their  overall  ESI.  Although  some  statistically  significant
differences  were  reported  for  a  few  factors,  the  effects  were  mainly  small.  Females  were
more  aware  of  their  emotions  than  males  while  men  were  more  adept  at  managing  their
emotions  than  women.  Dawda  and  Hart  (2000)  also  found  no  gender  differences  for  the  EI
total score or the EI composite scales. They reported that the females’ EI scores were lower
than men on independence and optimism sub-scales and higher on social responsibility sub-scale. Interestingly, Ahmad, Bangash, and Khan (2009) stressed a popular belief that women
are  more  emotionally  intelligent  than  men.  Nevertheless,  they  are  emotionally  intelligent  in
different ways. They stated that female participants are more aware of their emotions, more
empathetic,  and  skillful  in  their  interpersonal  communications.  On  the  other  hand,  men  are
more  optimistic,  adjustable,  and  self-assured.  After  taking  all  these  similarities  and
differences  into  account,  the  strengths  and  weaknesses  average  out  revealing  that  both
genders are somehow similar in their emotional intelligence. 
Finally, no significant relationship was found between the male and female students’
writing  scores.  Although  there  are  few  studies  regarding  gender  differences  and  ESL/EFL
students’ written performance, the findings of the present study are  consistent with those of
Hyde  and  Linn  (1988)  and  Chiu  (2008).  Hyde  and  Linn  (1988)  investigated  gender
differences in the students’ verbal ability by measuring the covered vocabulary, analogies,
reading  comprehension,  speech  production,  essay  writing,  anagrams,  and  general  verbal
ability. They found no significant gender differences in the students’ essay writing. In another
study,  Chiu  (2008)  investigated  gender  differences  in  EFL  college  writing.  He  studied  non-English  major  undergraduates  and  came  to  this  conclusion  that  female  students  wrote  more
than male students in all four writing tests of his study. In other words, there was a significant
gender  difference  in  the  total  amount  of  the  four  writing  tests.  Although  female  students
wrote  better  than  male  students,  considering  their  total  scores,  the  results  showed  that  the
difference  was  not  statistically  significant.  In  contrast,  the  similarity  of  the  males  and
females’ writing performance, found in the present study, does not support Kann’s (2001)
study.  Kann  (2001,  as  cited  in  Chiu,  2008,  p.  26)  concluded,  “girl  students  perform
significantly  better  than  boy  students  in  terms  of  content,  organization,  grammar,  and 
 
 diction.”  This  difference  may  be  due  to  the  different  brain  functions  in  both  genders
(Dingwall, 1998).
 
Conclusions and Implications
Recently,  many  studies  were  conducted  on  the  relationship  between  emotional  intelligence
and educational success, which demonstrated the positive influence of EI on the students’ and
teachers’ performance and achievements (Abdolrezapour, 2013; Abdolrezapour & Tavakoli,
2012;  Alavinia,  2011;  Fahim  &  Pishghadam,  2007;  Shao,  Yu,  &  Ji,  2013).  Similarly,  this
study indicated that the EFL students’ emotional intelligence is related to and  affects  their
writing performance. 
Overall, it can be concluded that there was a positive relationship between the students’
emotional intelligence and their writing performance. Therefore, the students’ writing scores
can improve when they  are more emotionally intelligent. Moreover, the students’ emotional
intelligence was influenced by their gender, which meant that female students were found to
have  a  greater  EI  score  compared  to  their  male  counterparts.  However,  there  was  no
difference between the male and female students in terms of their writing performance.
The results revealed that emotional intelligence is correlated with the students’ writing
performance  and  has  a  positive  influence  on  it.  Consequently,  it  is  logical  to  conclude  that
English  schools  and  language  institutes  should  consider  and  make  use  of  the  ideologies,
methods, and activities of EI in the EFL classrooms in an effort to promote the students’
academic  performance.  However,  it  is  important  to  notice  the  emotional  intelligence
differences  in  males  and  females.  Keeping  in  mind  the  lower  emotional  intelligence  of  the
male  students,  they  require  more  training  in  EI  compared  with  the  females.  Moreover,  the
findings  of  the  present  study  can  be  applicable  to  teacher  training  courses  (TTC).  In  such
courses, future teachers can gain the teaching knowledge and techniques required to enhance
their students’ level of EI.
In addition, activities that raise the learners’ motivation and literature-based approaches
of teaching writing, as used by Abdolrezapour (2013), Rouhani (2008), and Shao, Yu, and Ji
(2013),  provide  materials  designers  and  curriculum  developers  with  examples  of  beneficial
emotional  intelligence  activities,  which  can  be  integrated  into  language  textbooks  and
classroom  materials.  Furthermore,  Rouhani  (2008)  gave  some  suggestions  for  EI-based
syllabuses to consider some liberal arts, such as poetry, drama and stories, besides symbolic
and representational modeling and observation, in order to develop EI in the classroom.  
 
     
The  present  study  also  has  several  implications  for  test  developers.  Test  developers
should  be  aware  of  the  test  format  they  use,  and  whether  the  students’  performance  is
affected by their emotional intelligence or their gender. In testing the performance of the EFL
students, the teachers must be aware of the differences among their students in terms of their
EI.  In  order  to  be  fair,  it  is  better  to  evaluate  them  by  multiple  procedures  or  different  test
formats,  so  that  a  student  who  is  good  at  one  testing  format  will  be  neither  advantaged  nor
disadvantaged, and the obtained result will be comprehensive and reliable representing his or
her ability. 
Finally, more studies are required to investigate the effect of other influential factors on
the students’ EI or writing performance, such as age, social status, and ethnicity. Some other
studies  are  also  suggested  to  investigate  the  impact  of  teachers’  EI  on  their  classroom
teaching and the learners’ academic performance. This research study can also be replicated
by  investigating the impact of the students’ EI on other language skills, such as speaking,
listening, and reading, using different tasks.

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