Variables Impacting Academic Writing: An Investigation of First-year TVET Students’ Writing Performance

Angelo Meyers ORCID iD,Cornelia Smith ORCID iD and Madoda Cekiso ORCID iD

Issue: Vol.4  No.10  Article 2 pp.1184-1196
DOI: |   Published online 13th October, 2023
© 2023 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (


This study aimed to investigate the variables affecting first-year TVET students’ academic writing performance in South African Higher Education. The study was quantitative in nature and a purposive sampling technique was used to select participants. The study was targeted at first-year students in Technical and Vocational Education and Technology (TVET) College in the Western Cape. The sample size of the study was 185 students. The results clearly indicated that students’ motivation for academic writing was the most important, with the highest mean. In addition, learning styles and strategies, study behaviour or study habits, difficulty managing time, and inadequate and poor-quality learning materials exert an influence on academic writing performance. It emerged from the study’s findings that motivation is an essential attribute first-year students must possess to enhance their academic writing at the tertiary level.  Lack of motivation to develop academic writing skills can hinder them from acquiring the necessary skills.  Most of the students asserted that academic writing posed challenges. The study concluded that there is a need for first-year students in colleges to devote time and be committed to academic writing to develop and improve student writing skills. It was revealed that attention paid to academic writing can facilitate overcoming many barriers apparent to students’ writing performance.

Keywords: First-Year Students, Academic Writing, English Second Language, Student Engagement, Apprehension.

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Angelo Meyers, is a Doctoral student at the Faculty of Humanities at the Tshwane University of Technology based in South Africa, in the field of Applied Languages. He achieved his Master’s degree with distinction in Language Practice. His areas of interest are in Educational Linguistics, Language Testing, Student Teaching and Learning, Academic Literacy, Writing and Academic Advising.

Cornelia Smith, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied of Languages at Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa. Her areas of specialisation are English and Education. She has published in accredited journals and has supervised postgraduate students.

Madoda Cekiso, PhD, is a full Professor in the Department of Applied Languages at Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa. His areas of specialisation is Psycholinguistics, Sociolinguistics, and Onomastics. He has published several articles in national and international journals and has supervised many masters and doctoral students.

Meyers Angelo, Cornelia Smith, Madoda Cekiso. “Variables impacting academic writing: an investigation of first-year TVET students’ writing performance.E-Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 4, no.10 (2023): 1184-1196.

© 2023 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Journals. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (