Measurement and Incorporation of ZPD Scenarios in Developing Writing Complexity in EFL Classes: Group-Wide ZPD vs. Individualized ZPD

Document Type: Original Article


1 English Language Department, Faculty of Persian Literature and Foreign Languages, Islamic Azad University (South Tehran Branch), Tehran, Iran

2 Imam Ali University

3 English Language Department, Faculty of Persian Literature,and Foreign Languages.Islamic Azad University (South Tehran Branch), Tehran, Iran



Despite growing interest in the studies on Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), its operation in the forms of individualized and group-wide has been controversial. To cast some empirical light on the issue, this study was designed to quantitatively and comparatively study the applicability of the two scenarios of ZPD-based instructions to the writing complexity of Iranian EFL learners in terms of learners' types (low vs. high scorers). To this end, 118 EFL learners identified as homogeneous based on TOEFL ITP test were randomly assigned into two equal experimental groups (individualized ZPD- and group-wide ZPD-based groups) which respectively received compatible instructions utilizing conference writing (as an individual scaffolding technique) and low- and high-structured writing templates (as a whole-class scaffolding technique).The treatments were allocated to the groups in a random manner within homogeneous blocks. Prior to and after the treatments, three tests (two writing tests and one ZPD test) were administered to measure both groups’ writing complexity and their ZPD levels. A ZPD test was also administered in the mid of treatments. The non-parametric analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) revealed that the individualized-ZPD-based instruction is constructive to the writing complexity of the low-scorers, while the group-wide ZPD-based instruction shows not much constructive to the writing complexity of the high-scorers. The findings pointed to the use of ZPD-based instructions in TEFL writing in meaningful contexts and thereby showing impacts made on the writing complexity of learners. The study, indeed, yield support to the feasibility of group-wide ZPD measurement along with individualized ZPD approach.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 23 September 2020
  • Receive Date: 29 February 2020
  • Revise Date: 02 September 2020
  • Accept Date: 23 September 2020