The relationship between the development of speaking and writing proficiencies in second/foreign language acquisition is, at present, poorly understood and information on the limited amount of available research on this topic has yet to be widely disseminated.
Where most language instructors appear to be aware of differences in student learning styles, personalities, and general aptitude for language learning, many do not appear to take into consideration the differences in achievement across the productive modalities that exist for individual language learners. Despite compelling research evidence suggesting that the speaking and writing proficiencies of most adult learners do not progress in a symmetrical way, and that strength in one modality appears to support the development in the other (Weissberg, 2000, 2006; Hubert, 2013), courses for both English as a Second Language learners and foreign language students very often do not integrate writing (i.e., composing) and speaking in the classroom (Weissberg, 2006, Hubert, 2008, 2013). These are, instead, frequently regarded as discrete phenomena to be both taught and assessed separately, very possibly due at least in part to this lack of understanding concerning the way in which the different language proficiencies develop over time. This presentation will report on a longitudinal research study tracking the development of speaking and writing proficiencies in FL Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish students over several years. A comprehensive treatment of this topic will be provided, the methods that guide this study will be explained, and a series of pilot data informing this project will be presented.