This dissertation developed and tested online writing analytics software, Vexique, designed to improve French immersion (FI) high school students' lexical richness by promoting use of alternative vocabulary in phrasing an essay. Vexique's features were grounded in the Hulstijn and Laufer (2001) Involvement Load Hypothesis for second language (L2) vocabulary acquisition, whereby giving more attention to processing lexical information encourages vocabulary acquisition and retention in L2. Forty-five Grade 12 FI students participated. Students wrote two argumentative essays. Vexique provided quantified feedback of vocabulary and usage on the first essay that afforded making lexical improvements prior to submission. To test effects of the software's analytics, students wrote a second essay without feedback. Lexical richness increased after learners received prompts about their first essay. Results showed statistically detectable benefits to lexical richness indicated by lexical density and diversity. Results also indicated no statistically detectable difference in repetitive content words in the second essay.
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Thesis advisor: Winne, Philip
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