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The Impact of Written Corrective Feedback on Student Writing Accuracy

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Presentation on theme: "The Impact of Written Corrective Feedback on Student Writing Accuracy"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Impact of Written Corrective Feedback on Student Writing Accuracy

2 Correcting grammatical errors
Preview: Language teachers spend hours to correct students’ writing in different ways: Correcting grammatical errors Marking Grading Commenting Responding

3 The continuous debate:
There have been different approaches to error correction, but there is not still a sense of certainty about how best to provide such corrective feedback on writing and the debate has continued for several years between the advocates and opponents of corrective feedback.

4 John Truscott (1996) rejected the practice for
grammar correction in his review essay. ‘ … that correction is harmful rather than simply ineffective…[and] that no valid reasons have been offered for continuing the practice in spite of these overwhelming problems…thus, for the foreseeable future my conclusion stands: Grammar correction has no place in writing classes and should be abandoned’ (pp )

5 Truscott’s reasons for such a strong claim:
Error correction neglects the learners developmental sequence of acquisition This practice suffers from a range of practical problems such as teachers’ ability and willingness to give and students’ motivation to receive error .correction It wastes time and energy while this amount of time can be spent on more productive aspects of a writing program.

6 Truscott’s claim has faced a great deal of criticism in different reviews (e.g. Chandler, 2003, Ferris, 1999), but he has not withdrawn his case against grammar correction and grammar correction is, in general a bad idea until future research prove that there are particular cases in which it might not be a misguided activity (Truscott 2007).

7 Direct CF Indirect CF Narrative writing Short term Long term

8 Theoretical definitions:
Feedback: Penny Ur (1996) defines it as ‘type of information which is provided for the learners about his or her performance of a learning task, usually with the aim of improving this performance (p.242)

9 Feedback Correction: Assessment:
The learner is informed how well or badly has performed. Correction: some specific information is provided on what the learners perform.

10 Direct feedback: It refers to overt correction of errors
Direct feedback: It refers to overt correction of errors. All the error in the students’ written assignments are corrected by the instructor. Indirect feedback: It refers to prompting students about the location or type of errors and leaves monitoring and correction to the students themselves.

11 Narrative writing: It tells a story
Narrative writing: It tells a story. It can be whether true or fictional. Avoidance strategy: A common communication strategy which learners use to avoid a difficult word or structure and use a simpler word and structure instead.

12 Statement of the problem:
Although teachers give feedback, their feedback on form and content are often vague, contradictory, unsystematic and inconsistent. This leads to various reactions by students including frustration, confusion and inattention to comments. Many teachers still tend to respond to their students’ written works by using the traditional method of correcting all grammatical errors.

13 Research questions: 1. Does the Indirect CF decrease the number of grammatical errors of both total and specific error categories in Iranian EFL narrative writing and thus contribute to their grammatical accuracy both in the short and long-run? 2. Does the direct CF decrease the number of grammatical errors of both total and specific error categories in Iranian EFL narrative writing and thus contribute to their grammatical accuracy both in the short and long-run? 3. Does CF provision encourage the learners to avoid the treated grammatical errors?

14 Method: Participants:
Number & gender:41 students (13 males, 18 females) majoring in English literature. Age average:18.7 The writing classes met for one and half hour once a week over 16 sessions.

15 They were randomly divided into three groups with two different types of provided feedback. The first group which received the direct feedback was named group A. Participants in this group received teacher's correction. Participants in second group which is named group B, received indirect feedback. They were just informed about the location of the error by the errors being underlined. The third group's (named group C) participants were those who did not receive any kinds of feedback.




19 Narrative writing tasks
Instruments: Narrative writing tasks Cloze tests

20 Narrative Writing Topics:

21 Spotting and measuring the errors:
Contributing to the fact that different linguistic categories should not be treated in the same way (Bitchener et al., 2005; Ferris, 1995 a; Ferris et al, 2000; Liu, 2008; Lalande, 1982, Sheppard, 1992), the present study dealt with six linguistic categories to investigate the effects of the two types of CF on them.

22 Linguistic errors are divided into two groups:
Treatable Untreatable Verb tense and form, Articles, Noun endings, sentence fragment Word choice, Prepositions, Unidiomatic sentence structure


24 To investigate the effects of the provided feedback, the errors, considering their linguistic category, were counted in each individual writing task. As the text length of the drafts varied, the means of errors were calculated by dividing number of errors by number of words and multiplying by a standard which was set at

25 Procedure:

26 :Results & Discussion Three writings out of five ( the first, fourth, and fifth) were analyzed and marked concerning the six linguistic error categories to measure and compare the means of errors before and after CF provision. The fifth writing included the same topic of the first writing task with a six week interval to see the long term effect of corrective feedback. Statistical procedures used to analyze the data included descriptive (percentages, means, and standard deviations) and ANOVAs to analyze error reduction across the three groups.

27 The control group did not show an significant difference in error reduction both in posttest 1 and 2. on the other hand, the two treatment groups revealed significant reduction but the changes were not in the same pattern for each grammatical category.

28 Verb errors

29 Verb errors

30 Noun ending errors

31 Noun ending errors

32 Wrong words

33 Wrong words

34 Sentence structure errors

35 Sentence structure error

36 Article errors

37 Article errors

38 Preposition error

39 Preposition error

40 Total errors

41 Total errors

42 :Cloze tests analysis & results
It has been argued that learners tend to avoid the categories that have been the subject of CF(e.g. Sheppard, 1992; Truscott, 1996, 2004).


44 Based on the evidence of using avoidance strategy it could be concluded that the significant error reduction was due to the use of avoidance strategy and the provided CF did not result in self correction and accuracy in writing.

45 As a result cloze tests were constructed based on students’ committed errors on the first writing to compensate for the use of avoidance strategy. In this way, they could not ignore their errors any more.


47 Example of the cloze test

48 Percentages were derived by dividing right answers (i. e
Percentages were derived by dividing right answers (i.e. the number of errors corrected) by the number of blanks of the cloze test (number of committed errors of each individual on the pretest)


50 The percentages revealed that although the use of avoidance strategy is inevitable, the effects of CF can not be underestimated.

51 Conclusion: Research objective 1: The short and long term effects of the direct feedback on writing accuracy. Data analysis showed significant error reduction in the use of noun endings, sentence structures, articles and prepositions just in the short term. Considering the long term effect of the direct feedback, there was not any significant error reduction after the six week interval. The case was different for the verb tense and word choice. They did not reach the statistical significance in either time periods. In other words, the direct feedback did not have any significant effects on these two error categories. For total errors, data analysis showed significant error reduction in the short term and like the separate categories, it did not last for the longer period.

52 Objective 2: The short and long term effects of the indirect feedback on writing accuracy.
final analysis showed that the indirect feedback enabled students to use the verb tense, articles, sentence structure, noun endings with significantly greater accuracy in both short and long term periods than was the case with their use of prepositions and word choice. For preposition errors and wrong words, the indirect feedback showed significant change only in the short term and the error means increased again after the six week interval. However, for the total errors, the reduction of error means was significant in both time periods. Considering the short term effect of the two provided feedback, it was the indirect feedback which outperformed the direct feedback group for the total errors.

53 It also found that both direct (only in the short term period) and indirect feedback (in the short and long term periods) facilitated improvement in the more "treatable", rule-governed features (Verb errors, Noun ending errors, Sentence structure errors, Article errors) than in the less "treatable" features ( Wrong words and Preposition errors).There was not any significant long term effect on prepositions and word choice in the indirect group and even any short term effect on the wrong words in the direct group. Consequently, it is recommended that teachers provide the learners with corrective feedbacks on the more "treatable" types of linguistic errors on a regular basis.

54 Objective 3: Use of avoidance strategy due to the provided CF
It was found that although CF provision may lead to avoidance strategy and decrease in the length of the written work (Semke, 1984), no feedback is not an option. Grammar correction (whether direct or indirect) generally improve accuracy in the revised essays and it is more probable in new writings and long term for the indirect corrective feedback. Finally, the findings of this study have demonstrated that intermediate EFL writers can improve the accuracy of their use of rule-governed linguistic features due to the provision of indirect (both in the short and long term) and direct feedback (just in the short term).

55 Implications of the study
The students' output in writing cannot improve if they do not receive teacher's systematic comments to change and remove their errors. It shows that what they have produced is incorrect and thus helps them to 'notice the gap between their own deviant productions and grammatically correct productions (Ellis, 1998, p.52). This is what grammar correction hopes to achieve. Thus, searching for the most efficient method of providing feedback is one of the crucial factors in helping students improve in writing skill.

56 Further research: Further research would need to be undertaken to see if this finding is also true for other linguistic forms where rules of usage are more complex and idiosyncratic than they are for the use of the verb tense, article, noun ending and sentence structure. It should also be mentioned that there are a variety of strategies for providing CF. Other studies could be undertaken to see the impacts of them on other different error categories.

57 Thank you for your attention.

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