Evaluating Spontaneous Communication Through Systematic Error Analysis*


  • James M. Hendrickson

  • James M. Hendrickson (Ph.D., The Ohio State University) is Assistant Professor of Spanish, Department of Communication, Lansing Community College, Lansing, Michigan.

  • *

    The author wishes to thank Gerard L. Ervin and Renate A. Schulz for the helpful comments and suggestions in the preparation of this article.


ABSTRACT When students use a foreign language in spontaneous communication, they produce varying frequencies of different error types. This article presents a method for classifying, coding, and recording oral and written errors systematically for the purpose of (a) evaluating the quantity and quality of information in samples of students' communication, (b) diagnosing specific needs of individual language learners, (c) developing individualized instructional materials, and (d) deciding which student errors to correct first. The author also discusses several suggestions for using the method for second language acquisition research.