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The effects on writing and revision of two different feedback methods : Teachers’s written feedback and… Buck, Roberta Rude 1994

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THE EFFECTS ON WRITING AND REVISION OF TWO DIFFERENT FEEDBACK METHODS: TEACHERS' WRITTEN FEEDBACK AND WRITING CONFERENCE FEEDBACK by ROBERTA RUDE BUCK B.A., Western Washington University, 1990 A.A., Whatcom Community College, 1989 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Language Education We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November, 1994 © Roberta Rude Buck, 1994 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of • Ua-nf\ u ^  £- £ d o cocb <rn The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date '1)2,-5- H«-| DE-6 (2/88) 1 1 ABSTRACT This thesis investigates the effects of teachers' written feedback and writing conference feedback on writing and r e v i s i o n and on attitudes toward writing and r e v i s i o n . Seventeen subjects received teachers' written feedback and/or writing conference feedback on drafts of three assignments written for a u n i v e r s i t y - l e v e l computer science course. Subjects also completed pre- and post-questionnaires surveying t h e i r attitudes toward writing and re v i s i o n . Data col l e c t e d for each writing assignment included a l l i n i t i a l drafts, teachers' written and writing conference feedback, and a l l f i n a l d r a f t s . A l l written and conference feedback and selected revisions were coded according to the researcher's coding schemes. Essays were h o l i s t i c a l l y rated. Features of each type of feedback were assessed for t h e i r effects on writing and r e v i s i o n . Feedback methods were found to d i f f e r e n t i a l l y a f f e c t r e v i s i o n s and between-draft h o l i s t i c score differences. Feedback methods were also found to d i f f e r e n t i a l l y a f f e c t subjects' changes i n atti t u d e toward writing and re v i s i o n . i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT i i TABLE OF CONTENTS i i i LIST OF TABLES v ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v i Chapter One—Introduction to the Study 1 Introduction 1 The Problem 1 Background 1 Purpose of t h i s study 4 Research questions • • 4 D e f i n i t i o n s 5 Chapter Two—Review of Related Literature 7 Introduction 7 Teachers' Written Feedback (TWF) 7 Characteristics of TWF 8 Effe c t s of TWF 10 Negative comments .11 Confusing comments 12 Form-focused comments 13 Summary 15 Writing Conference Feedback (WCF) 15 Philosophy behind writing conferences 16 Ideal conference practices 18 Ideal conference practices for NNS 2 2 Ideal conference participants 23 Effe c t s of teacher writing conferences 2 6 Ef f e c t s of peer writing conferences 3 3 Summary . 38 Chapter Three—Methodology of the Study 40 Introduction 40 Classroom setting 40 Writing center setting 40 Subject selection 41 Data c o l l e c t e d 41 Data analysis 42 H o l i s t i c r a ting of writing samples 42 Coding teachers' written feedback . . .43 Coding writing conference data 44 Coding revisions 45 Summary 46 Chapter Four—Results of the Study 47 Introduction .47 Teachers' written feedback—classroom context 47 i v Classroom setting—students 47 Classroom s e t t i n g — c o u r s e content 48 Classroom s e t t i n g — w r i t i n g i n s t r u c t i o n 48 Teachers' written f e e d b a c k — c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 49 Assignment One 49 Assignment Two 50 Assignment Three 52 Writing conference feedback—setting . 54 Writing C e n t e r — d a i l y operations 54 Writing C e n t e r — t u t o r i a l s t a f f 55 Writing C e n t e r — w r i t i n g conference practices . . . 55 Writing conference fee d b a c k — c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . . . . . 56 Assignment One 56 Assignment Two 56 Assignment Three 57 Expert/Non-expert tutors 59 R e v i s i o n s — c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 61 Collaboration 62 Induction 65 Global-local p r i o r i t y 66 H o l i s t i c scores . 67 Questionnaires 68 Interpretation 74 Teachers' written feedback 74 Writing conference feedback 7 6 Revision 77 Attitudes 77 Summary 81 Chapter F i v e — D i s c u s s i o n of the Study 82 Introduction 82 Background 82 The l i t e r a t u r e .83 Methods 87 Results and Discussion 88 Limitations of the Study 93 Implications for Teaching Writing 94 Implications for Future Research 95 References 96 APPENDIX A: Pre-Questionnaire 102 APPENDIX B: Post-Questionnaire 104 APPENDIX C: Teachers' written feedback coding scheme . . . 106 APPENDIX D: Writing conference coding scheme 110 APPENDIX E: Revision coding scheme 114 V LIST OF TABLES Tables of Teachers' Written Feedback (TWF) Table 4.1.1 TWF, Assignment 1 51 Table 4.1.2 TWF, Assignment 2 53 Tables of Writing Conference Feedback (WCF) Table 4.2.1 WCF, Assignment 2 58 Table 4.2.2 WCF, Assignment 3 60 Table 4.2.3 Contrast between expert and novice conferencers 61 Tables of Revision Table 4.3.1 Revisions—high score gains 63 Table 4.3.2 Revisions—low score gains 64 Table 4.3.2 Collaboration related to r e v i s i o n 65 Table 4.3.4 E l i c i t a t i o n related to r e v i s i o n 66 Table 4.3.5 Global feedback related to r e v i s i o n . . . . 67 Tables of H o l i s t i c Scores Table 4.4.1 H o l i s t i c scores of Assignments 1-3 . . . . 68 Table 4.4.2 H o l i s t i c score gains by feedback type . . . 68 Tables of Attitudes Toward Writing and Revision Table 4.5.1 Attitudes toward writing by WCF 70 Table 4.5.2 Rank order of re v i s i o n issues by WCF . . . 71 Table 4.5.3 Attitudes toward writing by NS/NNS . . . . 72 Table 4.5.4 Rank order of rev i s i o n issues by NS/NNS . .73 v i ACKNOWLEDGEMENT S I wish to thank a number of people for t h e i r help i n making t h i s t h e s i s possible. My appreciation i s extended to Dr. Lee Gunderson, my faculty advisor, for h i s confidence i n my a b i l i t y and his t i r e l e s s support; Dr. Carmen Werder, for s a c r i f i c i a l l y providing timely, thought-provoking, and e f f e c t i v e written and conference feedback; Dr. Margaret Early, for her expert guidance at the very inception of my study; Dr. James Hearne and his class, for the considerable s a c r i f i c e of time that accompanied volunteering f o r my study; Tedra Meyer and other Western Washington University Writing Center Assistants, for lending t h e i r considerable reading and writi n g expertise to my study; Barbara Sylvester, for her forbearance with my divided attentions and for her thoughtfulness i n accommodating my schedule; Choji Hayashi, for his caring attention to both my academic progress and my mental well-being and for h i s u n f a i l i n g s p i r i t u a l support; Lynda Hayward, for her uncanny a b i l i t y to help me resolve my f r u s t r a t i o n s and to guide me to p r a c t i c a l solutions; Ervin and Katherine Rude and the rest of my family, for t h e i r moral support, t h e i r prayers, and t h e i r patience with my lack of attention to them; Alan, Chris, KC, Jim and others of my friends, for speaking encouragement to me at every opportunity; Kevin, my husband, for providing chocolate d e l i c a c i e s when I was most weary; and to My Father, for f a i t h f u l l y imparting His strength and endurance when I had none of my own. 1 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY INTRODUCTION The following chapter w i l l present a b r i e f d e s c r i p t i o n of the problem. The purpose of t h i s study, i t s research questions, and the d e f i n i t i o n s used herein w i l l also be de t a i l e d . PROBLEM In the teaching of writing, composition teachers almost automatically use the making of written comments on students' d r a f t s as a teaching practice. Though written feedback i s widely believed to help students become better writers, recent research into the nature of teachers' written feedback casts doubt on the effectiveness of written feedback as a teaching prac t i c e . Instead, researchers and p r a c t i t i o n e r s have begun to recommend that teachers o f f e r a d i f f e r e n t kind of feedback to t h e i r students: writing conference feedback. Unfortunately, writing c o n f e r e n c e s — p a r t i c u l a r l y those directed by peer t u t o r s — a r e l a r g e l y unexamined as a method of providing feedback that r e s u l t s i n better writers. BACKGROUND Writing i s d i f f i c u l t to teach. In other d i s c i p l i n e s such as mathematics or history, what i s learned i s a l l - i m p o r t a n t — t h e product of learning i s r e a l l y the only thing that matters. In writing, however, the process by which one writes must be attended to by instructors, just the product must be. Even though composition researchers agree that the writing process i s 2 a complex and recursive one (Flower, 1985; Lindemann, 1987; Murray, 1985), the composing process has often been separated into d i s t i n c t i v e , l i n e a r stages. Three general (but recursive) phases i n the writing process have been i d e n t i f i e d : p r e w r i t i n g — including planning a c t i v i t i e s such as brainstorming and o u t l i n i n g ; w r i t i n g — i n c l u d i n g the actual construction of sentences; and rewriting (often referred to as r e v i s i n g ) — including both r e v i s i n g and editing (Flower, 1985; Lindemann, 1987). The l a s t phase i n the writing process i s p a r t i c u l a r l y d i f f i c u l t to teach, primarily because beginning writers often have l i t t l e experience with and l i t t l e understanding of rewriting. Unlike t h e i r expert counterparts, inexperienced writers misconstrue re v i s i n g as a matter of cleaning up the surface-level errors i n a text and not as a stage where writers seek to resee the entire text and make major r h e t o r i c a l adjustments (Faigley & Witte, 1981, 1984; Flower, 1985; Sommers, 1982). I t i s unclear just where students get t h i s misconception of rewriting, although i t i s f e l t that teachers' evaluatory pr a c t i c e of red-marking every textual error may contribute to the misunderstanding. Regardless of the o r i g i n of the misconception, one of the p a r t i c u l a r challenges of teaching wr i t i n g i s the teaching of r e v i s i o n . One way that teachers commonly prompt more extensive r e v i s i o n than students might otherwise make i s by o f f e r i n g formative intervention i n the form of feedback on student 3 d r a f t s . This formative feedback—feedback given between drafts during the writing process—should not be confused with evaluatory comments given to j u s t i f y the grades on f i n i s h e d products. Formative feedback i s given by readers who convey to writers t h e i r expectations of the d r a f t s . By sharing with writers what they expect to f i n d i n a draft, readers can help authors transform what Flower (1985) c a l l s writer-based prose (where the meanings and intentions of the text are cl e a r to the author) into reader-based prose (where the meanings and intentions of the text are clear to both author and audience). Feedback from r e a l readers about what works i n a d r a f t and what doesn't i s thought to prompt r h e t o r i c a l r e v i s i o n s and help students rewrite more e f f e c t i v e drafts. Sometimes t h i s reader-feedback i s provided by the teacher i n the form of written comments. Other times, students seek an audience for t h e i r w r i t i n g from peer-tutors hired for the purpose of conferencing with writers struggling to revise a p a r t i c u l a r piece of writing. Reader feedback has t r a d i t i o n a l l y taken the form of written comments made by teachers on student d r a f t s . We can only speculate on just how t h i s method of feedback got started. I t seems natural enough that teachers would respond to writing i n writing, since writing i s both a formal response and has the advantage of leaving a record of suggestions for students to consult as they revise. I t also seems natural that teachers would be the ones doing the responding. In the t r a d i t i o n a l transmission model of teaching, teachers are seen as the 4 r e p o s i t o r i e s of facts which they transmit to t h e i r students. Teachers' practice of writing feedback on student d r a f t s i s just another way that they transmit t h e i r knowledge and expectations to students. Other sources of reader feedback are more recent. One campus i n s t i t u t i o n that i s i n the business of o f f e r i n g an a l t e r n a t i v e to teachers' written feedback i s the writing center, where peer tutor writing conferences are featured. Emphasizing o r a l rather than written feedback, writing conferences as a pedagogical practice grew out of the increasing sense that w r i t i n g i s a collaborative and e s s e n t i a l l y s o c i a l rather than i n d i v i d u a l a c t i v i t y (Bruffee, 1984). Drawing on Vygotsky's (1970) notion of the "more able peer" and Bruner's (1978) notion of " s c a f f o l d i n g , " writing centers feature peer tutors as readers of student d r a f t s . PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY The purpose of t h i s study i s to contrast two d i f f e r e n t types of formative feedback—teachers' written comments and peer-tutor writing conferences—to see i f either or both methods of feedback a f f e c t both written products and students' attitudes toward writing and r e v i s i o n . In addition, t h i s study w i l l analyze how both feedback methods a f f e c t the number and type of re v i s i o n s that students undertake i n response to the feedback given. RESEARCH QUESTIONS This research seeks to answer the following questions: 5 l a . What are the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of teachers' written feedback, and (lb.) what are i t s e f f e c t s on writing proficiency? 2a. What are the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of peer tutor writing conference feedback, and (2b.) what are i t s e f f e c t s on writing proficiency? 3. What i s the relationship between r e v i s i o n and writ i n g proficiency? 4 . What e f f e c t does teachers' written feedback have on students' attitudes toward writing and revision? 5. What e f f e c t does peer tutor writing conference feedback have on students' attitudes toward writing and revision? DEFINITIONS For the purposes of t h i s study, the following d e f i n i t i o n s apply: Feedback—Feedback i s the written or o r a l response to students' written d r a f t s . In t h i s case, feedback s h a l l be considered as those formative comments given for the purpose of helping student writers improve both t h e i r writing processes and t h e i r written products. Revision—Though r e v i s i o n i s considered by most composition experts to be d i v i s i b l e into two a c t i v i t i e s — r e v i s i n g ( r h e t o r i c a l changes) and editing (form changes), for the purposes of measurement i n t h i s study, r e v i s i o n s h a l l encompass both r e v i s i n g and editing. In other words, any change, either i n 6 meaning or i n form, from an o r i g i n a l written d r a f t to a f i n a l written product s h a l l be considered a r e v i s i o n . Peer T u t o r — A peer tutor i s a student, either undergraduate or graduate, who has been trained to guide other students i n the w r i t i n g process. Peer tutors are not teachers i n the sense that they do not teach composition i n the classroom, but neither are they p r e c i s e l y peers to the extent that they are trained i n the art of giving feedback to students writing i n a l l d i s c i p l i n e s . The peer tutors i n t h i s study a l l have been hired to work at a u n i v e r s i t y writing center. Global I s s u e s — G l o b a l issues i n writing are those larger textual concerns which a f f e c t the o v e r a l l meaning of a text. In p a r t i c u l a r , issues of both content (meaning) and organization (arrangement) are global issues when a change to that l e v e l of a text would a f f e c t what Kintsch & van Dijk (1978) c a l l the text's macrostructure or g i s t . Local I s s u e s — L o c a l issues i n writing are those smaller textual concerns which do not a f f e c t the o v e r a l l meaning of a text. In p a r t i c u l a r , issues of mechanics (punctuation), language use (grammar), and vocabulary are l o c a l issues. Content and organization are not t y p i c a l l y l o c a l issues, but they may be i f changes i n the text's meaning or arrangement are so minor as to leave the text's macrostructure or g i s t i n t a c t . 7 CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELEVANT LITERATURE INTRODUCTION The following chapter w i l l review l i t e r a t u r e with relevance to the top i c of feedback i n written composition. The chapter w i l l be divided into two major sections, each discussing a d i f f e r e n t method of feedback i n writing. The f i r s t section of the review introduces teachers' written feedback, describes i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , and examines t h i s feedback's e f f e c t s on w r i t i n g and r e v i s i o n . The second section of the review w i l l introduce writing conference feedback, discuss t h i s feedback method's underlying philosophy, outline ideal writing conference practices, and examine the effects of teacher and peer conferences as investigated empirically. TEACHERS' WRITTEN FEEDBACK While the best method for teaching composition has remained el u s i v e a f t e r years of composition studies, one technique widely believed to r e s u l t i n improved student writing i s teachers' written feedback. Though recent advances i n composition pedagogy suggest that feedback i s helpful even i f i t comes from sources other than the teacher, t r a d i t i o n a l l y , feedback has been provided by teachers i n the form of written comments on t h e i r students' d r a f t s . Teachers have long assumed that t h e i r written comments would prove invaluable to t h e i r students as they revised. Consequently, many i f not most teachers—composition or otherwise—invest hours of time (2 0 - 4 0 minutes per composition, 8 Sommers estimates [1982]) in thoroughly peppering student wr i t i n g with comments that both they and t h e i r students genuinely believe to be of value i n improving writing. But beginning with the r i s e of the process o r i e n t a t i o n to composition which gained momentum in the early 1980's, composition t h e o r i s t s ' investigations into the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of teacher feedback have yielded troubling r e s u l t s . CHARACTERISTICS OF TEACHER FEEDBACK Teachers' written feedback on drafts of student papers take several d i f f e r e n t forms: comments may be i n t e r l i n e a r — p l a c e d on or between the l i n e s of student text; marginal—placed i n the margins of student text, or endnotes—placed a f t e r the student text. Since teachers often favor a combination of the three approaches, most studies of teacher feedback do not discriminate between the types. Regardless of the placement, i t i s quite generally agreed that there are three universal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of teacher feedback: 1. I t i s usually negative (Brannon & Knoblauch, 1982; Daiker, 1989; H i l l o c k s , 1986; Leki, 1990; Sommers, 1982), 2. I t i s frequently vague, confusing, and contradictory (Butler, 1980; Robb, Ross, & Shortreed, 1986; Sommers, 1982; Zamel, 1985), and 3. I t i s most often directed toward language form (Cohen, 1987; Cohen & Cavalcanti, 1990; Leki, 1990; Robb et a l . , 1986; Semke, 1984; Sommers, 1982; Zamel, 9 1987, 1985). Vivian Zamel (1985), a noted ESL composition s p e c i a l i s t , provides the following summary of t y p i c a l teacher feedback: "...writing teachers misread student texts, write contradictory comments, provide vague pre s c r i p t i o n s , impose abstract rules and standards, respond to texts as fi x e d and f i n a l products, and r a r e l y make content-s p e c i f i c comments or offe r s p e c i f i c strategies for r e v i s i n g the text." (p. 86) I t i s unclear why teachers give feedback that i s t y p i c a l l y negative, confusing, and form-focused. Teacher attitudes are l a r g e l y unresearched, but perhaps t h i s kind of feedback may be a holdover from the h i s t o r i c a l l y product-focused writing pedagogy. In t h i s product-focused mentality, teachers measure student writing against perfection, against what Brannon and Knoblauch (1982) c a l l the "Ideal Text" (p. 159). Students who f a i l to meet id e a l standards receive a judgment (a grade) and j u s t i f i c a t i o n s (a plethora of red marks). Teachers who hold mental images of Ideal Texts are often g u i l t y of "appropriating" t h e i r students' texts by making pr e s c r i p t i v e comments (Brannon and Knoblauch, 1982; Sommers, 1982; Leki, 1990) to which students respond: "What do you want me to say?" or, "What should I have said?" These questions, suggests Sommers (1982) reveal that teachers are often teaching students more than just HOW to say; they are teaching students WHAT to say. 10 EFFECTS OF TEACHERS' WRITTEN FEEDBACK—EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE Whatever the reason that teachers t y p i c a l l y provide negative, confusing, and form-focused comments to t h e i r students, i t seems l o g i c a l that such feedback would at least c a l l i n t o question i t s effectiveness i n promoting better w r i t i n g and better writers. Some researchers have become so dubious as to denounce feedback altogether, dismissing i t as i n e f f e c t i v e i n improving writing. Two studies on the effectiveness of feedback indicate that (with or without feedback) practice i s the major factor i n writing proficiency gains. Semke (1984) studied the e f f e c t s of four types of feedback on the journal entries of 141 3rd-year German students. Of the four treatment groups, those who received comments only (no correction) showed more progress over the term than did other groups; they also had to write twice as much i n order to receive A grades, a condition that confirms the importance of practice as a major determinant of writ i n g improvement. Robb et al . ' s (1986) four groups of 134 Japanese college freshmen a l l improved both the q u a l i t y and complexity of t h e i r writing over time, regardless of the type of feedback they received. While t h i s r e s u l t might be taken as evidence f o r the effectiveness of indiscriminate feedback, these authors instead concluded that practice was the major variable i n improving writing. While the preceding researchers dismiss feedback as i n s i g n i f i c a n t i n bringing about writing proficiency gains, other researchers seem to assume that feedback could be p o t e n t i a l l y u s e f u l — i f i t were not t y p i c a l l y negative, confusing, and form-focused. Their research takes the form of c r i t i q u i n g the very nature of t y p i c a l teacher feedback and of pointing out the negative consequences such feedback has on writers, i f not also on t h e i r writing. The next three sections show that negative comments promote negative attitudes toward writing, confusing comments engender a lack of d i r e c t i o n i n r e v i s i o n , and form-focused comments perpetuate inexperienced writers' i n c l i n a t i o n s to e d i t rather than revise. Negative Comments—Daiker (1989), i n his study of LI teacher feedback, found that of 378 comments on student texts, 338 (nearly 90%) were negative. These r e s u l t s were obtained just a f t e r a departmental d i r e c t i v e cautioned teachers not to over-correct student papers and to use praise generously as a teaching strategy. Scant L2 research seems to indicate that L2 teachers are no more l i k e l y to praise student writing than LI teachers (Cohen & Cavalcanti, 1990; Fathman and Whalley, 1990; Graham, 1987). Cohen and Cavalcanti (1990) asked teachers teaching i n several contexts (both LI and L2) to think aloud while they commented on student texts. Only a sing l e p o s i t i v e comment was marked, though protocols revealed that teachers v e r b a l l y i d e n t i f i e d several strengths i n student texts. Yet preliminary research indicates that exclusively p o s i t i v e teachers' feedback works at least as well as mixed or negative feedback (Zak, 1990). And composition experts agree that supportive comments p o s i t i v e l y a f f e c t student writers (Semke, 12 1984) while negative comments demoralize and de-motivate them (Butler, 1980; Brannon and Knoblauch, 1982). H i l l o c k s (1986), a f t e r extensively reviewing dozens of LI studies of teacher feedback, goes so far as to suggest that negative comments served only to in f e c t students with a general negativity toward "themselves as writers and about writing as an a c t i v i t y " (p. 165) . Confusing Comments—Cohen (1987) reports i n his study of teacher feedback that many of his subjects simply did not understand the comments made by t h e i r instructors. This confusion i s not sur p r i s i n g since many teachers comment with a kind of coded shorthand that speaks volumes i n teachers' minds, but l i k e l y means nothing to students (Butler, 1980) . If shorthand-style comments creates confusion, contradictory comments only deepen the confusion. In her in-depth look at f i f t e e n L2 teachers' responses to 105 u n i v e r s i t y - l e v e l ESL students' texts, Zamel notes (as does Sommers, 1982) that i n t e r l i n e a r comments (usually focused on form) and marginal responses (usually focused on meaning) are often at odds with each other. In one p a r t i c u l a r l y s t r i k i n g example of interlinear/marginal contradiction, Zamel reprinted a paragraph (p. 93) where a teacher i n t e r l i n e a r l y corrected a l l surface-level errors, but then marginally suggested that the ideas i n the paragraph were underdeveloped. The student, i n response, elected to correct only the surface-l e v e l errors, ignoring the paragraph development advice. When the same teacher commented on the same paragraph i n the revised 13 d r a f t , she congratulated the student for writing a nearly error-free paragraph that was both very well-organized and we l l -developed. Zamel concludes that " [ i ] t has apparently not occurred to these teachers that the major revis i o n s suggested and the i n t e r l i n e a r responses are at odds with one another" (p. 93) . Students, of course, are l e f t wondering which set of comments take precedence i n guiding t h e i r r e v i s i o n s . Form-focused Comments—The fact that teachers are s t i l l preoccupied with students' surface-level errors i n grammar and mechanics i s unfortunate, p a r t i c u l a r l y i f stimulating r e v i s i o n i s a goal of writing in s t r u c t i o n . Process t h e o r i s t s t e l l us that good writers revise extensively at the global (discourse) l e v e l , while poor writers merely edit. Bogged down i n surface-level error, poor writers can't re-see t h e i r writing, so they skip r e v i s i o n e n t i r e l y (Flower, 1985; Raimes, 1987; Sommers, 1982). Since a focus on form properly belongs i n the e d i t i n g stage of the wr i t i n g process, teacher feedback on form perpetuates poor writer s ' r e v i s i o n strategies (or lack of them). Some may argue that L2 composition teachers' feedback i s j u s t i f i a b l y form-focused because L2 writers make more surface-l e v e l errors than do t h e i r LI counterparts. But there i s a compelling reason why form-focused feedback i s no more appropriate for L2 writers than for LI writers: L2 w r i t e r s — both i n process and product—are more sim i l a r to LI writers than they are d i f f e r e n t . After extensive research, both Zamel (1983, 1985, 1987) and Raimes (1987) report that LI and L2 writers 14 d i f f e r only s l i g h t l y i n t h e i r processes. The preponderance of l i t e r a t u r e that Krapels (1990) reviewed revealed that L2 writers s u f f e r from the same misunderstandings about the writing process as do basic LI writers; they plan l i t t l e , focus on structure and organization before generating ideas, and conceptualize r e v i s i o n as a d i s c r e t e - l e v e l task. Raimes (1987) summarizes, saying that "the d i f f i c u l t i e s of ESL writers appear to stem less from the contrasts between LI and L2 than from the constraints of the act of composing i t s e l f " (p. 442). While there i s l i t t l e evidence that t y p i c a l teacher feedback c a t e g o r i c a l l y r e s u l t s i n improved student writers and improved student writing, the question remains: Can teacher feedback be an e f f e c t i v e pedagogical device? The answer seems to be that a t y p i c a l feedback may be e f f e c t i v e i n promoting gains i n w r iting proficiency. Fathman and Whalley (1990), beginning with the premise that feedback i s desirable, devoted t h e i r energies to investigating which kind of feedback works best to promote both language accuracy and idea-rich content. They found that students who received balanced feedback including both grammar and content comments on t h e i r drafts made s i g n i f i c a n t l y more improvements on t h e i r revisions than d i d students who received no feedback, grammar-only feedback, or content-only feedback. Though students i n a l l treatment groups improved t h e i r content, only students receiving a combination of grammar and content feedback improved both the accuracy and content of t h e i r writing. Fathman and Whalley's re s u l t s must be cautiously 15 interpreted, however, because t h e i r subjects were tested under f a i r l y a r t i f i c i a l circumstances; both the d r a f t and the r e v i s i o n were 30-minute, in-c l a s s writing tasks based on picture prompts. While Fathman and Whalley advocate balanced feedback, Kepner (1991) advocates content-oriented feedback. When she studied the e f f e c t s of feedback on the journal responses of two groups of c o l l e g e - l e v e l Spanish students, Kepner concluded that focus-on-form feedback neither helped students improve accuracy nor promoted qua l i t y i n content. She further concludes that "the consistent implementation of message-related comments... as a primary medium of written feedback...is e f f e c t i v e for promoting the development of writing proficiency i n the L2 (in college intermediate courses)" (p. 310). Indeed, message-related comments promoted both surface-level accuracy and the ide a t i o n a l content of students' writing. SUMMARY Theoretically, teacher feedback i s a p o t e n t i a l l y e f f e c t i v e pedagogical t o o l i n the teaching of writing. But, i n practice, most feedback i s not e f f e c t i v e because of the tendency for teachers to make negative, confusing, and form-focused comments. Unless teachers can be persuaded to change the nature of the comments they give, other feedback methods may be preferable. WRITING CONFERENCE FEEDBACK Growing d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with both the nature and e f f e c t of written feedback has prompted composition t h e o r i s t s to advocate an alternate form of feedback—writing conferences (Walker & 16 E l i a s , 1987) . Theorists compare conferences favorably to written feedback c h i e f l y because conferences open between pa r t i c i p a n t s a face-to-face dialogue that allows them to negotiate t h e i r meanings. Talking permits teachers to express t h e i r concerns both for students' texts and students' writing process d i f f i c u l t i e s i n a way that they never could through written feedback. Talking also permits students to c l a r i f y teachers' comments and to ask questions about t h e i r d i f f i c u l t i e s . I t i s the s o c i a l dimension of conferences to which t h e o r i s t s a t t r i b u t e t h e i r effectiveness. PHILOSOPHY BEHIND WRITING CONFERENCES The philosophy behind writing conferences i s i n part revealed by l i t e r a t u r e d e t a i l i n g writing conference philosophy, but i s to a much greater extent revealed by the i d e a l conference practices recommended by most conference s p e c i a l i s t s . Even though not always e x p l i c i t , the philosophy behind writing conferences i s important to pinpoint because on the one hand, pra c t i c e reveals philosophy, while on the other hand philosophy influences practice. What do writing conference advocates believe about writing that makes them advocate conferences as the best way to teach writing? Conference t h e o r i s t s subscribe to t h i s philosophy: writing (along with thinking and learning) i s a s o c i a l and collaborative, not in d i v i d u a l , act. The misconception of writing as a s o l i t a r y act probably originates with misconceptions about the nature of knowledge. Thomas Kuhn (1970) notes that scholars t r a d i t i o n a l l y thought of 17 knowledge as something acquired and wielded, not as something generated and maintained i n company with and i n dependency upon others. Kuhn f i r s t recognized the s o c i a l dimension of knowledge; he claimed that knowledge i s generated and maintained by communities of knowledgeable peers. Kuhn's notion of knowledge as s o c i a l l y constructed rather than i n d i v i d u a l l y held impacted educators' notions about the best way to educate. Many composition theorists were heavily influenced by Kuhn's recognition of the s o c i a l aspects of knowledge and learning. Long having recognized writing as a way of thinking and learning, they began to consider the s o c i a l nature of w r i t i n g as well. Ede (1989) traces the history of authorship and notes that for centuries i t has included the notion of collaboration. She considers i t a major western f a l l a c y that w r i t i n g has been thought of as the a c t i v i t y through which "lonely garret scholars" displayed t h e i r knowledge. Modern composition theor i s t s are seeking to d i s p e l t h i s f a l l a c y by reestablishing the connection between writing and conversation. "Thought i s internalized conversation" (Bruffee, 1984b, p. 7). And writing? "[W]riting i s i n t e r n a l i z e d conversation re-externalized" (Bruffee, 1984b, p. 7) . But i n writing, conversation between writers and readers i s what Bruffee c a l l s "technologically displaced," a f a c t that often creates d i f f i c u l t i e s for writers. Bringing writer and reader together i n face-to-face conversation during the w r i t i n g process often c l a r i f i e s for writers the expectations that readers bring 18 to t h e i r texts. Writing conferences are the s o c i a l context i n which writers and readers are brought face-to-face. I t i s i n t h i s s o c i a l context of writers and readers where the standards and conventions of knowledge are created and enforced (Bruffee, 1984a; Kuhn, 1970). And i t i s through conversation i n t h i s context that students can practice academic conversation. M [ 0 ] u r task [as peer tutors] must involve engaging students i n conversation at as many points i n the writing process as possible and...we should contrive to ensure that conversation i s s i m i l a r i n as many ways as possible to the way we would eventually l i k e them to write." (Bruffee, 1984b, p. 7) This kind of conversation during the writing process gives students, who often enter the university with strong o r a l tendencies (Lochman, 1989), a chance to use " o r a l language i n d i s c u r s i v e i n t e l l e c t u a l discourse" (Hawkins, 1980, p. 64). "The dialogue between counselor [tutor] and student... forms a bridge between o r a l i t y and academic l i t e r a c y " (Lochman, 1989, p. 28) . I t i s the o r a l rehearsal of academic discourse that eventually "helps teach students the s k i l l s and judgment necessary to r e v i s e " (Hawkins, 1980, p. 64). Ideal Writing Conference Practices This s o c i a l constructionist philosophy underlying writing conferences influences much of the ideal conference practices that conference theorists recommend. Much p r e s c r i p t i v e 19 l i t e r a t u r e has been written about what practices contribute to the i d e a l writing conference. Most of t h i s l i t e r a t u r e i s directed to teachers wishing to incorporate conferences into t h e i r writing classrooms, though some i s directed toward t r a i n i n g peer-tutors i n the art of conferencing. Although a de s c r i p t i o n of ideal conference practices gives l i t t l e i n s i g ht into actual conference practices, i t i s important to get a p r o f i l e of what teachers, theorists, and researchers have i n mind when they t a l k of the writing conference. Conference experts (Harris, 1986; Meyer & Smith, 1987; Murray, 1985) generally concur on three recommendations about writing conferences: 1. Writing conferences should be c o l l a b o r a t i v e ; conferencers should attempt to be non-directive and non-authoritarian. Taylor (1993) , believing that Rogerian therapists have mastered the art of non-directive talk , recommends that conferences proceed much l i k e therapy. Conferencers, l i k e t herapists, must hone t h e i r s k i l l s for sympathetic l i s t e n i n g . Taylor p a r t i c u l a r l y recommends two active l i s t e n i n g techniques— paraphrasing (restating the students' message) and perception checking (guessing the students' message, then v e r i f y i n g i t ) . While l i s t e n i n g i s one valuable non-directive practice, silence i s another. Murray (1985) i n p a r t i c u l a r advocates s i l e n c e as valuable conferencer technique, because he believes that since silences beg to be f i l l e d , students w i l l rush to f i l l them. No one, however, advocates exclusive use of these non-directive 20 techniques; some d i r e c t i o n i s usually expected of the teacher, tutor, or peer. But conferencers must not be so d i r e c t i v e as to be considered a u t h o r i t a r i a n — t h a t point i s reached i f the conferencer begins to take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f or the student's writi n g . Since students often come to a conference looking for "the answers" to t h e i r writing problems, they can often pressure conferencers into authoritarianism. But conferencers must r e s i s t the urge to supply answers and instead guide students through a process of discovering t h e i r own solutions. The non-directive, non-authoritarian p o l i c y encourages students to accept r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for t h e i r own writing, both process and product (Harris, 1986). 2. Writing conferences should feature inductive teaching techniques; therefore, conferencers should s t r i v e to promote inquiry. Although some c r i t i c i z e as overly d i r e c t i v e the widely accepted practice of questioning students (Johnson, 1993), most conference advocates see questions, e s p e c i a l l y open-ended ones, as a way for conferencers to i n v i t e students to t a l k more about t h e i r w riting topics. This " a i r time" for students benefits them i n several ways. The mere act of ta l k i n g about t h e i r topics helps students to see what they mean, to see how what they've said may not convey what they mean, and to explore aloud options fo r r e v i s i o n . Inquiry techniques can guide students into seeing the "dissonance between t h e i r goals and t h e i r text" (Beach, 1989, p. 135); t h i s dissonance, once seen, serves as an incentive to revise. While inquiry rather than didacticism 21 should dominate writing conferences, there i s also a place for teaching techniques such as modeling and t e l l i n g . But most caution against the over-use of d i d a c t i c teaching, that i s t e l l i n g or d i r e c t i n g students what to do. Such t e l l i n g wars with both the inductive nature of the conference event as well as with i t s collaborative nature. 3. Writing conferences should stimulate r h e t o r i c a l r e v i s i o n ; conferencers should p r i o r i t i z e issues of meaning over issues of language. While acknowledging that the writing process i s not so simple, composition theorists (Flower, 1985; Harris & S i l v a , 1993; Lindemann, 1987) s t i l l generally recognize three phases i n the writing process: prewriting, writing, and rewriting (comprising r e v i s i o n and e d i t i n g ) . These t h e o r i s t s d i s t i n g u i s h between revisi o n and editing: r e v i s i o n i s a re-seeing of the text r h e t o r i c a l l y , emphasizing the areas of thesis and organization; editing, however, i s t i d y i n g of the text l i n g u i s t i c a l l y , emphasizing the areas of grammar and punctuation. Writing conferences t y p i c a l l y interrupt the writing process between dra f t i n g and revising, and have as t h e i r goal the stimulation of re v i s i o n . Though most t h e o r i s t s do not advocate ignoring editing issues i n the writing conference, they do emphasize the hierarchy of addressing global concerns before addressing l o c a l ones (Harris & S i l v a , 1993). Conferencers should guide students to tackle global problems f i r s t , i n part because these problems inte r f e r e with meaning i n a way that language problems do not. And i n the process of r e v i s i n g at the 22 r h e t o r i c a l l e v e l , many of the l i n g u i s t i c concerns w i l l e i t h e r change or take care of themselves. Ideal Conferences Practices for Nonnative English Speakers U n t i l recently, most conference t h e o r i s t s would have advocated the same ideal conference practices for both native and nonnative English speakers. And for the most part, that i s s t i l l true. However, some conference t h e o r i s t s have begun to acknowledge d i s t i n c t i o n s between the two audiences. These d i s t i n c t i o n s have prompted some to advocate adjustments i n the id e a l conference pattern when the student i s a nonnative speaker. Powers (1993) points out that nonnative speaking conferees often have less experience i n writing, have d i f f e r e n t r h e t o r i c a l expectations, and have a d i f f e r e n t sense of audience than t h e i r native speaking counterparts. These conferees haven't the background from which to discover t h e i r own answers, so inquiry techniques don't work, says Powers. ESL conferees need information, and information i s most e f f e c t i v e l y presented by t e l l i n g and showing. Powers claims that i n s i s t i n g on the t y p i c a l c o l l a b o r a t i v e approach with ESL students i s "applying an atti t u d e solution to an information problem" (p. 45). While Harris & S i l v a (1993) also acknowledge problems with the much-advocated collaborative approach, they a f f i r m the col l a b o r a t i v e model, regardless of conferees' f i r s t language status. Harris and S i l v a acknowledge that conferencers may need to occasionally become " t e l l e r s " to f i l l i n gaps where ESL conferees lack the c u l t u r a l , r h e t o r i c a l , and l i n g u i s t i c 23 i n t u i t i o n s of native speakers. But they caution against t h i s t e l l i n g becoming the primary mode of i n t e r a c t i o n i n the conference. Harris and S i l v a also acknowledge that l i n g u i s t i c concerns loom larger when conferees are nonnative speakers. Grammatical concerns can place an extra burden on conferencers who may be seduced into accepting r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for f i x i n g a l l l o c a l errors. These authors caution conferencers against accepting such r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , urging them to s t i c k to the prescribed conference pattern of p r i o r i t i z i n g global concerns. Ideal Conference Participants Proponents of ideal conference practices r a r e l y d i f f e r e n t i a t e i n t h e i r recommendations between conferences directed by teachers, tutors, or peers. But while conference philosophy and ideals are the same no matter who d i r e c t s them, conferences may be inherently d i f f e r e n t depending on the f a c i l i t a t o r . In p a r t i c u l a r , researchers have noted that the c o l l a b o r a t i v e r o l e may be d i f f i c u l t , i f not impossible, for teachers to assume (Ulichny and Watson-Gegeo, 1989). This r o l e may be d i f f i c u l t i n part because teachers know more than t h e i r student writers and i n part because teachers are invested with the power to evaluate the very writers with whom they seek to collaborate. Since writers usually write to a less informed reader, " r e a l " readers ascribe authority to writers. However, teachers generally know more than the writers themselves, so i t i s hard for teachers to respect student-writers' authority (Brannon & Knoblauch, 1982). From a p o s i t i o n of greater 24 knowledge and a n t i c i p a t i n g t h e i r ultimate r o l e as judge, teachers often inadvertently compare student texts to t h e i r notion of the "Ideal Text" (Gere & Stevens, 1985) , while students often inadvertently look to t h e i r teachers to see i f they've gotten "the r i g h t answer." Students, p a r t i c u l a r l y nonnative speakers, are also not accustomed to viewing teachers as anything but authorities (Goldstein & Conrad, 1990). Ultimately, both students' and teachers' perceptions of teachers as evaluators substantially undermines the c o l l a b o r a t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p . Unlike teachers, peer conferencers have no notions of i d e a l text; instead they r e f l e c t r e a l readers' expectations for the text. Peer response helps writers understand how t h e i r intentions are balanced by the expectations of t h e i r readers. Of the benefits of peer conferencing, Nystrand and Brandt (1990) say: The effectiveness of peer conferencing l i e s l a r g e l y i n i t s e f f i c a c y i n defining true troublesources—not discrepancies between the writer's text and some i d e a l text, but mismatches between what the writer a c t u a l l y has to say and what the reader a c t u a l l y needs and expects to f i n d . " (p. 211) And Nystrand (1990) found that students who wrote re g u l a r l y for t h e i r peers began to divest themselves of the notion that t h e i r texts functioned primarily as something to be judged. But while peers may not function as judges, they also have 25 no p a r t i c u l a r expertise i n writing and the writing process. They, l i k e those they conference with, are novices. Peer tutors, on the other hand, are unique because they are neither altogether peers, nor are they altogether tutors; instead, they may embody the best of both worlds. Like teachers, they have knowledge of the writing process and are trained i n guiding writing. And they are themselves expert writers, f u l l y i n i t i a t e d i n t o conventions of academic discourse. But peer tutors are f u l l y peers as well: A peer tutor, unlike a teacher i s s t i l l l i v i n g the undergraduate experience. Thus, tutor and tutee are more l i k e l y to see each other as equals and to create and open, communicative atmosphere, even though the peer tutor i s a more advanced student who has already gained a foothold i n the system." (Hawkins, 1980, p. 66) Tutors' c r e d i b i l i t y , says Hawkins, comes from t h e i r success i n negotiating the system—as both an insider and an outsider. DiPardo (1988) and Trimbur (1987) caution that peer t u t o r s ' very success i n the academic climate which invests teachers with authority can threaten to turn peer tutors into "teacherettes" and undermine t h e i r a b i l i t y to collaborate. But, on the whole, Trimbur f e e l s that i f tutors can be trained to r e s i s t that mantle of authority, "peer tutoring replaces the h i e r a r c h i c a l model of teachers and students with a colla b o r a t i v e model of co-learners engaged i n the shared a c t i v i t y of i n t e l l e c t u a l work" 26 (p. 23). Though these theorists have claimed that the e f f e c t s of writ i n g conferences d i f f e r according to conference p a r t i c i p a n t s , r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e empirical research has been undertaken to confirm those e f f e c t s . The following sections examines the empirical research for two types of writing conference p a r t i c i p a n t s — t e a c h e r conferences and peer conferences. There i s no comparable body of empirical l i t e r a t u r e examining peer tutor conferences. EFFECTS OF TEACHER WRITING CONFERENCES—EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE Assuming that conferencers generally subscribe to these i m p l i c i t philosophies of writing and follow the prescribed conference practices, composition t h e o r i s t s hypothesize that these conferences a f f e c t t h e i r student part i c i p a n t s i n a number of b e n e f i c i a l ways. Among the variety of claims about the product and process benefits of writing conferences are these. Writing conferences 1. promote c r i t i c a l thinking and higher-order thinking s k i l l s (Flynn, 1993; Lagana c i t e d i n Nystrand, 1990, p. 15); 2. contribute to more posit i v e attitudes toward writing (Nystrand, 1986); 3. contribute to c r i t i c a l r e f l e c t i o n , an act of metacognition involving "evaluative thinking about... ideas and processes" (Higgins, Flower, & Petraglia, 1992, p. 49); 4. lead to a greater repertoire of r e v i s i o n strategies (Robb, Ross, & Shortreed, 1986; Nystrand & Brandt, 1989); and 27 5. contribute to gains i n writing (Nystrand, 1986) and r e v i s i o n s k i l l s (Nystrand & Brandt, 1989). Not for several years aft e r the wholesale endorsement of writing conferences did researchers begin to research empirically conference d i a l o g u e — e i t h e r to characterize conferences i n practice or to investigate t h e i r claimed benefits. Researchers wished to tes t the assumption that conferences were an e f f e c t i v e i n s t r u c t i o n a l t o o l and that they provided a context i n which students could negotiate the input that they needed to improve t h e i r writing. Jacobs and Karli n e r (1977) were the f i r s t to suggest that conferences offered d i f f e r e n t i a l i n s t r u c t i o n to students; the act of conferencing alone did not guarantee a successful pedagogical event. Since 1977, researchers have looked at conference dialogue i n various ways i n order f i r s t to define a successful conference and then to pinpoint the d i a l o g i c features that make i t successful. Jacobs and Karliner (1977), presenting the t r a n s c r i p t s of two widely d i f f e r i n g conferences, emphasized that conferences were neither predictable nor homogeneous, nor did they always o f f e r students the opportunity to negotiate. In one conference, the teacher did l i t t l e to d i r e c t the dialogue and teacher and student seem to tal k cooperatively, whereas i n the other, the same teacher talked i n monologues about h i s own, not the student's ideas. These researchers noted that i n the f i r s t case, the student made better revisions r e s u l t i n g i n a co g n i t i v e l y more sophisticated draft, while i n the second case, the student 28 seemed unable to solve problems of meaning i n h i s r e v i s i o n , focusing instead on surface problems. After Jacobs and Kar l i n e r i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c a l l y analyzed both conference dialogue and subsequent d r a f t quality, they offered a clear i n d i c a t i o n that conferences are widely variable and that conference dialogue d i r e c t l y r e l a t e s to subsequent revisions. These researchers raised a concern that continues to dominate empirical investigations: How able are teachers to achieve a consistently c o l l a b o r a t i v e stance i n writing conferences? Freedman and Sperling (1985) investigated the matter of teacher dominance i n writing conferences and concurred that students received d i f f e r e n t i a l i n s t r u c t i o n depending on the degree to which teachers controlled and sustained conference dialogue. Analyzing conference data i n several categories, the researchers determined control by counting teacher- or student-i n i t i a t e d topics and teacher- or student-continued t o p i c s . In addition, they looked at the nature of the topics nominated— discourse or surface-level concerns. In t h e i r analysis of four writing conferences involving two high-achievers and two low-achievers of d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r a l (but not language) backgrounds, these researchers found that teachers responded d i f f e r e n t l y to students of d i f f e r i n g a b i l i t y l e v e l s . High achievers, they found, e l i c i t e d more praise and more expository modeling, while low achievers seemed unable to e l i c i t praise and were more l i k e l y to make comments that alienated the teacher. In a l l cases, however, the teacher i n i t i a t e d more topics than the 29 student participant, up to seven times as many. Clearly, conferences d i f f e r e d widely among students and Freedman and Sperling speculated that part of the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for conference control l i e s with the students and t h e i r d i f f e r i n g a b i l i t i e s to negotiate the help they need. No attempt i n t h i s study was made, however, to determine the success of i n d i v i d u a l conferences i n terms of subsequent revisions. Freedman and Katz' (1987) research also responded to the concern that teachers i n conferences may be merely repeating the patterns of dominance t y p i c a l of the classroom. Noting that conferences could be divided into predictable parts including s t u d e n t - i n i t i a t e d comments and questions and t e a c h e r - i n i t i a t e d comments and questions, these researchers determined that conference dialogue did not r e p l i c a t e classroom dialogue; rather conferences followed turn-taking rules that f a l l somewhere between those found i n normal conversation and those found i n classroom dialogue. While these researchers didn't define successful conferences, they did speculate that conference effectiveness i n improving student writing i s re l a t e d to the degree of control or i n i t i a t i v e a student exerts i n the conference dialogue. But Newkirk (1989) didn't blame students' lack of i n i t i a t i v e for teacher-dominated writing conferences. In one sample where the teacher spoke nearly three times as much as the student, Newkirk found that the conference lacked negotiations; the teacher suggested solutions to problems before the student 30 was even aware a problem existed. Newkirk speculated that t h i s teacher seemed to be working to conform the student's paper to hi s image of an " i d e a l text." In a contrasting conference, the student talked nearly four times as much as the teacher, affording the student an opportunity to rehearse o r a l l y for the revised text. If teachers dominate, says Newkirk, "[s]tudents do not get a chance to hear what they know" (p. 327) . Newkirk also emphasized the importance of students and teachers working cooperatively. To that end, i t i s imperative that "both student and teacher . . . come to a meeting of the minds f a i r l y early i n a w r i t i n g conference" (p. 318). Newkirk, l i k e Freedman and Katz, did not say how he judged conference success. But neither the issues of student i n i t i a t i v e nor of teacher domination concerned researchers who posited that a wide va r i e t y of conference practices y i e l d successful conferences. Sperling (1990, 1991), i n her studies of a Grade 9 English c l a s s , found that conferences evolve i n a v a r i e t y of ways depending on the teacher, the student, the writing task, and the conference purposes. She found more highly c o l l a b o r a t i v e conferences to be characterized by "active negotiations between teacher and student of ideas and strategies f o r writing, r e f l e c t e d i n mutual control of both conference t o p i c and structure" (1990, p. 309). But even highly teacher-directed, less c o l l a b o r a t i v e conferences characterized by teacher monologues are e f f e c t i v e , says Sperling. "[F]or both more and less active participants, one-to-one conversation s t i l l 31 occasions co-laboring" (1990, p. 317); t h i s co-laboring provides a "context i n which the student comes to ' i n h e r i t ' the conventions of writing language through b i l a t e r a l pursuit of the conventions with a more able adult" (1990, p. 318). Sperling's 1991 research explicated several of her 1990 t r a n s c r i p t s and r e i t e r a t e d her thesis: n a t u r a l l y occurring conferences are dialogues of tremendous variety, depending on the p a r t i c i p a n t s ; we needn't promote a seemingly preferred pattern of conference interaction. In part, Sperling's research answered those researchers who hinted that teachers, by t a l k i n g too much, are to blame for unsuccessful conferences (Jacobs & Ka r l i n e r , 1977; Newkirk, 1989; Ulichny & Watson-Gegeo, 1989). Sperling's point i s well-taken: students are at least p a r t i a l l y responsible for manipulating the d i r e c t i o n and consequences of conference dialogue. But since she did not define an e f f e c t i v e conference i n terms of subsequent revisions or i n any other measurable way, her claim that a l l conferences are equally e f f e c t i v e , regardless of the kind or focus of conference dialogue, i s unsupported. While Sperling saw a l l conferences as e f f e c t i v e , Ulichny and Watson-Gegeo took the other extreme. To them, writing conferences are i n e f f e c t i v e because they do not foster negotiation between students and teachers at a l l , at l e a s t among the underachieving grade six native and nonnative speakers they studied. Ulichny and Watson-Gegeo found that meaning wasn't negotiated because teachers came to conference conversations 32 with higher status and more power than students. This power d i f f e r e n t i a l allowed teachers to go so far as to t r y to "correct" the personal experiences of the students. Teachers betrayed t h e i r low expectations by t h e i r focus on mechanics and by the d i r e c t i v e s they issued for correction. In t h i s study, writing was almost purely mechanical: teachers i n conferences acted as q u a l i t y c o n t r o l l e r s — t h e y inspected each d r a f t and assigned corrections to students who performed them and resubmitted t h e i r products for another inspection. Revised dr a f t s showed that students had r a r e l y revised discourse concerns, not surprising since these were seldom addressed i n conferences. Though not as extreme as Ulichny and Watson-Gegeo, Goldstein and Conrad (1990) agreed that conferences do not automatically lead to negotiation or to student input. Their study of several conferences of nonnative English speaking writers at the university l e v e l led them to believe, however, that the negotiation of meaning and revisions between student and teacher i s es s e n t i a l to a successful conference, as measured by subsequent revisions. These researchers noted a p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p between negotiation and successful r e v i s i o n s (which they inadequately defined as revisions which solve r h e t o r i c a l problems). Goldstein and Conrad pointed out that conferences are complex speech acts influenced by the p e r s o n a l i t i e s of both students and teachers, by teachers' roles i n a conference, and by students' perceptions of conference speaking r u l e s . 33 Though Goldstein and Conrad pointed to negotiation as the c r u c i a l element i n conference success, Walker and E l i a s (1987) asserted that, negotiation aside, successful conferences (as rated by both students and teachers) are characterized by a focus on students concerns. In both high- and low-rated conferences, students spoke only about one-third of a l l utterances. Apparently, the fact that teachers talked most of the time did not mean, however, that conferences weren't student-focused. As long as students' needs were at the center of the conference agenda, both participants had favorable perceptions of the conference. In addition to a student focus, Walker and E l i a s found that successful conference agendas include the a r t i c u l a t i o n of the " p r i n c i p l e s of good wri t i n g and evaluation of the student's work against these c r i t e r i a " (p. 281) . Note that "success" i n Walker and E l i a s ' s terms means that conference participants judged them successful i n post-conference ratings; researchers did not examine students' subsequent revisions. EFFECTS OF PEER CONFERENCES—EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE Instead of investigating the claimed benefits of teacher conferences, another group of researchers (Birkenkotter, 1984; Gere & Abbott, 1985; Hedgecock & Lefkowitz, 1992; Nystrand, 1986; Nystrand & Brandt, 1989) has been investigating the supposed benefits of peer conferences. Like teacher conference researchers, peer conference researchers have t r i e d to characterize features of actual conference dialogue as well as 34 to r e l a t e that dialogue to writing proficiency gains. Although the f i r s t two studies reviewed below do not consider w r i t i n g or r e v i s i o n , they do provide he l p f u l information about the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of response group dialogue and i t s e f f e c t s on wr i t i n g and on attitudes toward writing and r e v i s i o n . Gere and Abbott (1985) sought not so much to evaluate peer conferences but rather to describe t h e i r dialogues. These researchers analyzed the dialogue from nine " e f f e c t i v e " writing response groups at the elementary, middle, and high school l e v e l . (Response groups followed a teacher-prescribed format for t h e i r group responses.) Transcriptions of w r i t i n g group dialogue revealed that dialogue f e l l into f i v e areas of focus (content, process, form, context, response) and performed three l i n g u i s t i c f u n c t i o n s — t o inform, to d i r e c t , or to e l i c i t . In these conferences, most conference t a l k centered on informing about content, while the next most centered on d i r e c t i n g the wr i t i n g process. Conference dialogue was not r e l a t e d to writing or r e v i s i o n . In t h e i r study of conference dialogue, Nystrand and Brandt (1989) found a relationship between peer conference dialogue and writ e r s ' subsequent revisions. They discovered, not altogether s u r p r i s i n g l y , that conference p a r t i c i p a n t s ' point of entry to the text (at the l e v e l of genre, topic, or comment) matched the writer's point of entry i n the subsequent r e v i s i o n . In other words, whatever part of the text was the focus of conference t a l k became the focus of subsequent revisions. Nystrand and 35 Brandt observed that peers i n these conferences heavily weighted concerns at the genre (or global) l e v e l . In t h i s p a r t i c u l a r research, however, the researchers did not examine the e f f e c t s of conferences on writing quality. In her three-subject case study, Birkenkotter (1984) also r e l a t e d conference dialogue to subsequent r e v i s i o n s . She discovered that as with teacher conferences, peer conferences had d i f f e r e n t i a l educative e f f e c t s . In Birkenkotter's f i r s t case, the student writer became vociferously defensive of his d r a f t and refused to consider peer feedback i n h i s r e v i s i o n s ; i n the end, he made only surface-level changes to h i s o r i g i n a l d r a f t . The second writer, despite the perhaps unwarranted peer reassurances of h i s f i r s t draft's effectiveness, revised extensively and to good e f f e c t . The t h i r d author, i n contrast to the f i r s t , was so susceptible to peer response that she l o s t authority over her own text by r e v i s i n g according to the d i r e c t i o n s of others. Although Birkenkotter d i d not systematically rate revisions or writing qua l i t y , c l e a r l y for these three writers, peer response was of li m i t e d benefit. Newkirk (1984) also questioned the value of peer conferences i n helping writers improve t h e i r writing, primarily because peers and teachers seemed to have very d i f f e r e n t notions about what constituted good writing. In Newkirk's study, ten teachers and ten students of varying a b i l i t y l e v e l s rated four samples of student writing. In contrast to teachers, student readers: i d e n t i f i e d with other students, causing them to 36 elaborate as readers and f i l l i n missing d e t a i l s ; valued o r i g i n a l i t y , even r h e t o r i c a l l y i n e f f e c t i v e o r i g i n a l i t y , f or i t s own sake; and showed a marked p a r t i a l i t y f o r topics that interested them. Newkirk's re s u l t s suggested that peer conferences may not r e s u l t i n improved written products as judged by teachers, although he did not ac t u a l l y study peer conferences. But Nystrand and Brandt's (1989) findings did not agree with Newkirk's. In a continuation of t h e i r 1989 research, these researchers found that peer conferences contributed both to r e v i s i o n s k i l l s and to ov e r a l l draft q u a l i t y . A f t e r both "studio" (students writing i n classrooms that include peer response) and "non-studio" (students writing only f o r t h e i r instructors) writers wrote drafts, both groups were f i r s t asked what kinds of revisions they needed and intended to make. Then, one week l a t e r , students revised t h e i r d r a f t s . Nystrand and Brandt found major benefits to writers accustomed to peer conferences: studio writers were more c r i t i c a l of t h e i r d r a f t s , accurately assessing t h e i r d r a f t s ' strengths and weaknesses; they knew s p e c i f i c a l l y what revisions were needed and were able to v e r b alize what those revisions would accomplish; and t h e i r f i n a l d r a fts were rated s i g n i f i c a n t l y higher than the non-studio writers' d r a f t s . An e a r l i e r study of Nystrand's (1986) examined the e f f e c t s of peer conferences not on writing and r e v i s i o n but on students' attitudes toward writing and re v i s i o n . Over a three-year period, 37 Nystrand conducted beginning- and end-of-term surveys of many college freshmen. He noted that students writing only for t h e i r i n s t r u c t o r s (no peer response) came increasingly to see r e v i s i o n as a matter of editing and t i d y i n g up t h e i r texts, whereas student writing i n classes where peer conferences were a part of the classroom increasingly viewed r e v i s i o n as a matter of reconceptualizing t h e i r texts. This evidence led Nystrand to conclude that instructors tend to act as judges p r i m a r i l y concerned with l e x i c a l and syntactic concerns whereas peers act as readers, as "collaborators i n a communicative process." He also noted that students i n peer conference classrooms had increasingly p o s i t i v e attitudes toward writing i n general. A s o l i t a r y study contrasted the e f f e c t s of teachers' written feedback with peer writing conference feedback; t h i s study i s p a r t i c u l a r l y pertinent to the present research. Hedgecock and Lefkowitz (1992) compared the e f f e c t s of these two feedback methods on 30 u n i v e r s i t y - l e v e l native English speakers writing i n French. Students of s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i m i l a r p r o f i c i e n c y l e v e l s (in both writing and language proficiency) were randomly assigned to two groups between which the only difference was the method i n which they received feedback on two writing assignments. The f i r s t group received two sets of i n s t r u c t o r ' s written comments on t h e i r drafts; the f i r s t set of comments focused on content and organization, the second set on grammatical accuracy. The second group was divided into groups of three for peer response groups. According to the i n s t r u c t o r ' s 38 protocol, response groups met f i r s t to give comments on content and organization and next to give comments on grammaticality. Students i n both groups then turned i n f i n a l versions which were h o l i s t i c a l l y rated (along with i n i t i a l drafts) on a scale which included categories for content, organization, vocabulary, language use, and mechanics. Students receiving teacher feedback made s i g n i f i c a n t between-essay gains i n grammar only, while students receiving peer feedback made s i g n i f i c a n t between-essay gains i n content, organization, and vocabulary. The r e s u l t s led these researchers to conclude that writers who receive teacher feedback attend more to grammatical accuracy whereas writers who receive peer feedback attend to content and organization. SUMMARY Writing conference advocates (Nystrand, 1986) subscribe to a s o c i a l constructionist notion of writing as an a c t i v i t y that involves conversation. F i l l i n g writers' need for conversation, conferences y i e l d p a r t i c u l a r benefits when they follow the prescribed pattern: conferences should be c o l l a b o r a t i v e , inductive, and revision-focused. Whether the conferencer i s a teacher may determine how well the i d e a l conference pattern can be followed. While empirical research suggests that teachers tend to dominate most writing conferences, researchers (Sperling, 1991; Ulichny & Watson-Gegeo, 1989) disagree on the extent to which that domination interferes with conference success. Peer conferences, on the other hand, seem r e l a t i v e l y free of issues of authority. Though some (Newkirk, 1984) 39 question the effectiveness of peer conferences, others (Hedgecock & Lefkowitz, 1992) assert that they lead to successful r e v i s i o n and writing proficiency gains. The single study contrasting teachers' written feedback with peer conference feedback suggests that the teachers' feedback promotes more l o c a l - l e v e l revisions while the peer feedback promotes more g l o b a l - l e v e l revisions. 40 CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY OF THE STUDY INTRODUCTION This chapter outlines the study's methodology, including the classroom setting, the writing center set t i n g , subject s e l e c t i o n , data c o l l e c t i o n , and data analysis. CLASSROOM SETTING The primary setting for t h i s study was a Western Washington University computer science course designated as a Writing Pr o f i c i e n c y section. Writing Proficiency (WP) courses at Western are intended to introduce students to the conventions of writing i n t h e i r d i s c i p l i n e s . The content of most WP courses i s the d i s c i p l i n e , and writing i s the medium through which students display t h e i r knowledge of the d i s c i p l i n e . A l l Western Washington University students must complete a Writing Pro f i c i e n c y course, preferably i n t h e i r majors, before being graduated from the University. This computer science course was chosen as a source for subjects because the researcher knew that as with a l l WP courses, a s i g n i f i c a n t amount of writ i n g would be required of students and because courses i n t h i s d i s c i p l i n e generally contain greater numbers of nonnative English speakers. WRITING CENTER SETTING The secondary setting for t h i s study was Western Washington University's Writing Center. Among writing centers across North America, t h i s Writing Center's practice i s f a i r l y t y p i c a l i n i t s d a i l y operations, i n i t s t u t o r i a l s t a f f , and i n i t s writing 41 conference practices. SUBJECT SELECTION Seventeen subjects were selected from the aforementioned computer science classroom. With the exception of one who was dropped from the study, a l l who volunteered were selected as subjects for the study. A l l subjects agreed to p a r t i c i p a t e at one of two l e v e l s of commitment. Eight subjects, the TWF (teachers' written feedback) Group, received only teachers' written feedback on dr a f t s of assignments. Nine subjects, the WCF (writing conference feedback) Group, received not only teachers' written feedback on Assignments One and Two; they i n addition received peer-tutor w r i t i n g conference feedback on Assignments Two and/or Three i n one or more t h i r t y - to sixty-minute writing conferences i n the Writing Center. DATA COLLECTED Pre- and post-versions of a questionnaire d e t a i l i n g a ttitudes toward writing and re v i s i o n were c o l l e c t e d for each subject (see Appendix A and B for pre- and post-questionnaires) . I n i t i a l questionnaires were passed out i n class and c o l l e c t e d before subjects turned i n t h e i r f i r s t writing assignments. Approximately ten weeks l a t e r , f i n a l questionnaires were passed out i n class and coll e c t e d after subjects turned i n t h e i r l a s t w r i t i n g assignments. Photocopies of a l l f i r s t and f i n a l d r a f t s of a l l three w r i t i n g assignments were collected throughout the twelve weeks 42 of the course. Copies of instructor feedback on the f i r s t assignment—mostly endnotes—were obtained from the i n s t r u c t o r . Instructor feedback on the second assignment took the form of marginal and i n t e r l i n e a r comments, so copies of t h i s feedback were obtained by photocopying the comment-laden dr a f t s before they were returned to the subjects. Writing conferences i n the Writing Center were audio-taped and observed by the researcher. Observations included t r a n s c r i b i n g as much of the conference t a l k as possible. DATA ANALYSIS H o l i s t i c Rating of Writing Samples A l l d r a f t and f i n a l versions of papers were h o l i s t i c a l l y rated using the Jacobs, Zinkgraf, Wormuth, H a r t f i e l d , & Hughey (1981) h o l i s t i c r a t i n g scale. Each assignment was rated separately, but draft and f i n a l versions were shuffled. The p r i n c i p a l r a t e r was the researcher who has three years of experience i n h o l i s t i c a l l y r a ting compositions. Two other raters were used, one with extensive experience i n h o l i s t i c r a t i n g and another with one year of tutoring experience that includes on-the-spot assessment of student drafts. The researcher had been previously trained i n using and had used Jacobs et a l . ' s r a t i n g scheme. She trained the other raters according to the ins t r u c t i o n s l a i d out by Jacobs et a l . Score disagreements of 10 points or more (10% of the rating scale) were negotiated between the readers u n t i l agreement within 9 points was reached. As a l l disagreements were negotiated successfully, no disagreements 43 required a t h i r d reader. An o v e r a l l i n t e r r a t e r r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t of .9342 was achieved. Coding Teachers' Written Feedback Teachers' written feedback was coded according to the researcher's own coding scheme. This scheme cross-codes seven categories of feedback content with three categories of feedback function to y i e l d 21 categories. The seven categories addressing feedback content are based, i n part, on the categories of the Jacobs et a l . (1981) h o l i s t i c r a t i n g scheme (content, organization, vocabulary, language use, and mechanics). I t became apparent to the researcher early i n data analysis that the content and organization categories of analysis needed r e f i n i n g to r e f l e c t d i s t i n c t i o n s between the global-(discourse) l e v e l and the local-(sentence) l e v e l . Thus, the categories of content and organization were broken down further into content-global, content-local, organization-global and organization-l o c a l . Feedback items were cross-coded by three categories that address the l i n g u i s t i c function of the feedback (inform, d i r e c t , e l i c i t ) . These function categories were f i r s t used by Gere and Abbott (1985). A l l 21 categories have been described and exemplified i n Appendix C. Since feedback tended to be given i n short phrases or clauses, each clause or phrase was counted. The length and form of the feedback often depended on the category i t f e l l i nto; for instance, feedback on vocabulary, language use, and mechanics was often shorter than phrase-length. In fact, t h i s feedback 44 often consisted of li n e s (indicating deletion of words or punctuation), marks (indicating addition of punctuation) or words (indicating the substitution of vocabulary). Each mark, word, phrase, or clause was coded, with the exception of those comments which proved u n i n t e l l i b i g l e to both r a t e r s ~ 2 3 comments (4.67%) were considered u n i n t e l l i g i b l e and were not categorized according to the coding scheme. The researcher h e r s e l f coded a l l teachers' written feedback. Another trained rat e r coded 11% of a l l the comments. An int e r r a t e r r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t of .8788 was achieved. Coding Writing Conference Data Writing conference dialogue from sixteen writing conferences was coded according to same coding scheme as was teachers' written feedback. Because the researcher was only interested i n the part of conference dialogues that dealt s p e c i f i c a l l y with student writers' drafts, only dialogue r e l a t i n g to drafts was coded. This t y p i c a l l y meant that conference openings (introductions, getting d e t a i l s of the assignment, reading the draft) and closings (summarizing, leavetakings) were not coded. Relevant dialogue was analyzed i n terms of idea unit (Chafe 1980), a unit of speech i d e n t i f i e d by intonational, h e s i t a t i o n a l , and syntactic markers. A l l 21 categories have been defined and exemplified i n Appendix D. The researcher herself coded a l l 16 writing conference dialogues. Eight percent of the t o t a l idea units for a l l the dialogue data were transcribed and checked by another rat e r 45 trained to use the rating scheme. Raters achieved an i n t e r r a t e r r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t of .9056. Coding Revisions Fourteen of the drafts were selected for studying the re v i s i o n s made between the draft and f i n a l versions of papers. These fourteen drafts were selected on the basis of h o l i s t i c score gains between versions. From each assignment, papers from the two subjects (or three i n the case of a t i e ) who made the greatest and the least score gains between d r a f t and f i n a l version were selected for the re v i s i o n study. From Assignment One, an addit i o n a l nonnative speaking subject with a r e l a t i v e l y high gain score was selected to assure that at lea s t one r e v i s i o n from each assignment included a nonnative speaker. Revisions were coded according to a modification of the feedback coding scheme. The content of the revisions were coded using the same categories of content, organization, vocabulary, language use, and mechanics. The r e v i s i o n taxonomy was altered to r e f l e c t the fact that revisions were not to be cross-coded by function but rather by description. Revisions took four forms: additions, deletions, substitutions, and reformulations. These de s c r i p t i v e categories are the same ones used by Sommers (1981) and s i m i l a r to those used by Faigley and Witte (1981, 1984). Twenty-eight categories are included i n the enti r e taxonomy; these categories have been described and exemplified i n Appendix E. Revisions varied considerably i n length—from a single 46 punctuation mark to complete paragraphs. The length of each r e v i s i o n often depended on i t s content; for instance, r e v i s i o n s of vocabulary, language use, and mechanics were generally shorter than phrase length. Content or organization r e v i s i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y those on a global l e v e l , often spanned whole paragraphs. In order to r e f l e c t the length of the r e v i s i o n i n the coding, each clause of lengthier revisions was counted. Nothing smaller than a punctuation mark and nothing larger than a clause were coded as one revision. The researcher herself coded a l l the re v i s i o n s . Another trained r a t e r coded 10% of the t o t a l r e visions. An i n t e r r a t e r r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t of .8832 was achieved. SUMMARY This chapter has introduced the classroom and Writing Center s i t e s of t h i s study as well as the subjects and t h e i r s e l e c t i o n . The types of data col l e c t e d were outlined as were the methods for data analysis. 47 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS OF THE STUDY INTRODUCTION The current chapter presents the r e s u l t s of t h i s research. F i r s t , the e f f e c t s of teachers' written feedback w i l l be discussed. Then the e f f e c t s of writing conference feedback w i l l be discussed. F i n a l l y , the effects of the two feedback methods on r e v i s i o n and on attitudes toward writing and r e v i s i o n w i l l be discussed. TEACHERS' WRITTEN FEEDBACK—CLASSROOM CONTEXT The teachers' written feedback i n t h i s study must be examined as an extension of the writing i n s t r u c t i o n t y p i c a l of t h i s study's p a r t i c u l a r classroom setting. The classroom context, including i t s students, i t s course content, and i t s writ i n g i n s t r u c t i o n , i s outlined i n the following sections. Classroom Setting;—Students The subjects i n t h i s research r e f l e c t e d the demographics of the c l a s s r o o m — a l l were computer science majors, most were 4th or 5th year seniors, and a l l had passed a required j u n i o r - l e v e l w r i t i n g proficiency exam i n order to be admitted into t h i s course. Only f i v e of seventeen subjects were female, but t h i s r a t i o , too, r e f l e c t s the demographics of the classroom. Four of the subjects i n t h i s study were non-native English speakers. A l l had a high degree of or a l English p r o f i c i e n c y . Three immigrated to the United States seven or more years before the study and had completed t h e i r high school and college years 48 i n English-speaking schools. The fourth, an exchange student, had been speaking and learning English for f i f t e e n years i n her home country where English i s an o f f i c i a l language. A l l four confessed l i t t l e experience composing i n either t h e i r native languages or i n English. Classroom Setting—Course Content The content for t h i s course was the u s a b i l i t y of computer software. A t y p i c a l of most WP courses, however, t h i s course's content focused more on the d i s c i p l i n e of writing than on the d i s c i p l i n e of computer science; i n fact, when several study p a r t i c i p a n t s were asked to i d e n t i f y the percentage of the class dealing with writing, answers ranged from 75-100%. A number of classroom conditions can be taken as evidence of the writing focus: one of the assigned textbooks was a writing text, the text and exercises from i t made up a large percentage of the cl a s s discussion, and the class sessions the researcher attended (over 33%) were devoted almost exclusively to writing issues. Although a l l subjects had access to the same q u a l i t y and quantity of writing instruction, subjects did not receive equal i n s t r u c t i o n because a l l subjects were not present at every c l a s s session. Classroom S e t t i n g — W r i t i n g Instruction Writing i n s t r u c t i o n i n t h i s classroom was highly product-focused. Neither the instructor nor the text addressed writing process issues. T y p i c a l l y , the instructor assigned exercises i n which students i d e n t i f i e d sentence or paragraph patterns and 49 then set out either to create text duplicating the prescribed pattern or to transform text to f i t another pattern. For example, s i g n i f i c a n t class time was devoted to pr a c t i c e that included these a c t i v i t i e s : writing "catchy" introductions, i d e n t i f y i n g the purpose or function of sentences i n a paragraph, i d e n t i f y i n g the t r a n s i t i o n a l devices used to unify sentences i n a paragraph, rearranging badly organized paragraphs, writing paragraphs or sentences according to function or pattern, and eliminating excess words from sample sentences. Sample sentences and paragraphs were often written i n a l i t e r a r y s t y l e , so t h e i r content was not at a l l related to the subject of the course. TEACHERS' WRITTEN FEEDBACK—CHARACTERISTICS Assignment One The f i r s t assignment included a d r a f t and a f i n a l version of an executive summary c r i t i q u i n g the u s a b i l i t y of a piece of software designed to help users search on-line l i b r a r y databases throughout the world. This assignment was to be addressed to a busy decision-maker who needed to know the strengths and weaknesses of the software. As were a l l assignments, t h i s assignment was to be organized, grammatically and mechanically correct, and persuasive. Both draft and f i n a l versions of t h i s assignment were graded. The inst r u c t o r i n t h i s study gave two d i f f e r e n t types of written feedback: endnote and marginal/interlinear. (Since there appear to be differences between the two types, feedback on each assignment w i l l be characterized separately.) The 50 feedback on the f i r s t assignment was predominately i n the form of endnotes. The instructor did make a few marks on several of the d r a f t s , but most of the comments were written on separate sheets. Each comment was numbered and keyed to places i n the d r a f t . Assignment One drafts averaged 19.43 0 comments. The content of the feedback was consistent with other findings i n the l i t e r a t u r e : the majority (82%) of t h i s coded feedback addressed the l o c a l issues of language use (37.63%), vocabulary (26.05%), l o c a l - l e v e l content (8.36%), mechanics (7.07%) and l o c a l - l e v e l organization (2.89%). Only 18% of the coded feedback addressed global issues. (See Table 4.1.1 f o r c e l l means and standard deviations.) Most of the feedback on t h i s f i r s t assignment functioned to inform (61.1%) students, while 35% of the feedback sought to d i r e c t them. Only 3.9% of the feedback was designed to e l i c i t information from the students. Also consistent with other findings i n the l i t e r a t u r e , most of the feedback on t h i s assignment was negative or at least not praise. Only 5 (2.99%) of the 167 coded comments were po s i t i v e . Assignment Two The second assignment included a draft and f i n a l version of a summary of l i t e r a t u r e on a computer issue of the author's choice. The summary was to be referenced and was to summarize material from at least f i v e computer science p e r i o d i c a l s . This assignment, too, was to be organized, grammatically and mechanically correct, and persuasive. Both dr a f t and f i n a l co o\<> CO o rH o O "* co CO • CO • • • H • in • co • H H VO vo CO H H o\<> O CM o o CM in H o o O VO CM CO • o o CO • Si O • II g sd=. • H II g sd=l o • ' II g • II 73 to • H in cr> o\° in CM CM in o CM CO CM VO rH in o rH vo rH • O • CM in CO • • II g sd=4 CO II g sd=6 H • II g • II 73 (0 • CO VD in o\o LO CO CM o o CM LO r- in vo CM in o VO O CO • o • CM in o • rH > CM H II • CM CM II H • • II in vo CM -P II T3 II 73 II 73 c g 10 g (0 g (0 Q) 6 tn tn o\<> • H vo O O rH CTt (0 CM CM in CM in VO CO LO •H • VD CM VD CM in • < O • H II O • • II O • • II • CM II 73 II 73 II 73 0 g (0 g (0 g to (0 , Q 73 o\<> OJ CM O o vo a) O CM in CM in CO CM O rH LO VD CM VO CM • n • O • O • • CM c o • II t II • . II a> II 73 II 73 II 73 -p g (0 g W g (0 -p • H u rH o\<> (Tj rH o H o CM VO & (0 10 IT) CO CM in CM o CM CO 0 0 (M VD CM H vo VO • rH 0 *H —s. • • • O • CO • • CO rH O rH OJ u H II • II • II H (0 H ^ ^ II 73 II 73 II 73 JQ H C C 0 g 10 g (0 g to 0 0 0 o a) rd rH O - H - H (0 <1) E> En cn oV> \ ^ td (0 >i 4 J 4 J N N ^ 0J (0 CM in o H VO C C - H - H (0 tr> 0 H o CM in VO OJ OJ C C rH td - H • ID CO • CO in VO CM O • -p 4-> <d <d 3 PC g -P -P • rH H • o • • LO (0 rH u 0 - H • o CM II • II • II CO H 0 0 H U <d C 43 td 0 <u 0 II 73 II 73 II 73 u u 0 0 0 (d 0 -P <w M - H g 10 g (0 g to 0 J 0) O C - H H II II II II > S H H Q H II M •Q H O hH O rH II II II II II II <0 H a EH t» EH u u 0 0 > J 2 H H Q H 52 versions of t h i s assignment were graded. Feedback on the second assignment did not take the form of endnotes; rather, the instructor used a combination of marginal and i n t e r l i n e a r comments. Assignment Two dr a f t s were t y p i c a l l y a page or so longer than those for Assignment One, and they averaged 28.426 comments per draft. The content of t h i s feedback was even more t y p i c a l l y directed at l o c a l concerns (93.72%), s p e c i f i c a l l y the areas of language use (37.19%), vocabulary (28.39%), mechanics (15.33%), l o c a l - l e v e l content (11.05%), and l o c a l - l e v e l organization (1.76%). Only 6.28% of t h i s feedback addressed global issues: g l o b a l - l e v e l content (4.52%) and g l o b a l - l e v e l organization (1.76%). (See Table 4.1.2 for c e l l means and standard deviations.) Unlike the feedback of the f i r s t assignment, most of the feedback on drafts of t h i s assignment functioned to d i r e c t students (52.01%). Feedback to inform dropped to 40.96% while feedback e l i c i t rose to 7.03%. Even less of the feedback on t h i s assignment consisted of praise; only 5 (1.54%) of the comments were p o s i t i v e . Assignment Three The t h i r d assignment included only a f i n a l version (no d r a f t required) of another executive summary, t h i s time c r i t i q u i n g the u s a b i l i t y of one of two outdated word processing programs. Again, the writing was to be organized, grammatically and mechanically correct, and persuasive. No teacher feedback was given on the t h i r d assignment, co o\o o\<> cn o\<> vo VO CO H cn CO CN , vo CTl O cn O EH H O CN H r-» CO 1-1 H LO CN H cn o\o CO O co o r> CO CN O rH O o LO CO LO • LO • O o CO • X CO H • CN O • • LO • II CO II • II H II 73 II 73 II 73 B CO B (0 B 10 CO CO o CO o >* t- H o\° o CO o vo H vo cn D o • LO • CN LO rH • CO • I'- O • • • II VO ll • II o II 73 II 73 II 73 H CO B CO B CO B LO CO o\<> H CO CTi rH cn LO VO CN co CN t-» CO co • o • O • > • CN • LO vo • • CO co II «* II • II CO CN II 73 II 73 II 73 a (0 B (fl B (fl cn VO o\o H vo CN CTl VO H LO CN H cn s • o • CN • • O • II • II • II • H II 73 II 73 II 73 s (0 B LO B (fl H LO o\o vo H H VO CO CO o VO o CO VO CN LO o s CM • o • • LO • o • II • II • II • H II 73 II TS II 73 B LO B 10 B (fl r- o\<> o H CO VO CN LO o vo H CO H O o • r» CTt r> vo H • s • H LO • LO • • H o CN II • II • II co H II 73 II II 73 B LO B w B (fl o CO vo o\<> CTl CTt o o r> CO CO CN o CN CTl o o LO vo CN LO CTl • o • CO • • • • II • II • II H II 73 II 73 II 73 B (0 B w B (fl H Q H EH (0 rH o o rH O s s •P 4-1 c c a) a) •p -p c c o o u u II II (d rH 43 (0 o o rH O o •H -p (C >• N ^  •rH (0 C rH (0 3 CT> tn,Q L( L( (C o o o o II II > (fl D 0J (fl CP O CO -H 3 c t7> (0 (0 o s O J O i-q II II II II U U O O > J I S E H H Q W 54 because students were not required to turn i n dr a f t s of t h e i r papers. Students who had writing conferences f o r t h i s assignment did bring drafts to t h e i r writing conferences, however. WRITING CONFERENCE FEEDBACK—SETTING Like teachers' written feedback, writing conference feedback cannot be divorced from the context i n which i t i s provided. The following sections describe the Western Washington University Writing Center and i t s d a i l y operations, i t s t u t o r i a l s t a f f , and i t s writing conference practices. Writing Center-—Daily Operations The Writing Center i s the place where student writers come to get feedback—in the form of student-student writing conferences—on t h e i r reading or writing projects. These reading or writing projects might be i n any d i s c i p l i n e ; i n fact, the majority (80%) of the c l i e n t e l e at t h i s Writing Center s i t e are working on writing i n d i s c i p l i n e s other than English. While the Writing Center advertises i t s e l f as o f f e r i n g help to students i n any stage of the writing process (including t o p i c s e l e c t i o n ) , most often, students come to Writing Center with t h e i r topics selected and with much of the background research and reading completed. Most have completed drafts of t h e i r papers i n hand. If student writers anticipate needing feedback i n advance, they plan ahead by signing up for one of the Writing Center's 30- or 60-minute appointments. Although the Center accommodates walk-in c l i e n t e l e where possible, mid- and end-of-55 term are usually so busy that, for these times, appointments are a must. The Center i s open about 45 hours a week, including evenings. S t a f f i n g l e v e l s vary during these hours, but two peer-tutors are usually on duty at a l l but the most off-peak hours. Writing C e n t e r — T u t o r i a l Staff Although some campuses have come to s t a f f t h e i r centers with professional writing teachers, t h i s Writing Center s i t e remains among the t r a d i t i o n a l l y staffed: other than three administrators, the Writing Center i s st a f f e d e x c l u s i v e l y by students—some graduates, but most undergraduates. Called Writing Assistants (WAs), these peer tutors are English majors selected on the basis of t h e i r superior writing s k i l l s . A l l WAs receive s i x hours of pre-service orientation to tutoring, and then receive ongoing in-service t r a i n i n g throughout t h e i r f i r s t year of service. Most WAs are unpaid, receiving instead graduate or undergraduate c r e d i t for t h e i r service. WAs with state work study awards are paid, as are WAs with more than a year's experience, though a l l receive a very nominal hourly rate. The average WA works about f i v e to six hours a week, although graduate students often work as much as ten to twelve hours per week. Writing Center—Writing Conference Practices Student writers a r r i v i n g for t h e i r conferences can expect t h e i r conference to proceed through several d i s t i n c t stages. F i r s t of a l l , students are greeted by a WA and are asked some preliminary demographic questions for the Writing Center's 56 s t a t i s t i c a l record. Most sessions begin with Assistants asking about d e t a i l s of c l i e n t s ' assignments. Once the writing task has been f i r m l y established, Assistants w i l l generally f i r s t ask writers what d i f f i c u l t i e s they are having with t h e i r d r a f t s and then ask them to read t h e i r drafts aloud. Assistants use t h i s time to get f a m i l i a r with drafts and to take notes about any problem areas they'd l i k e to address. After drafts are read, Assistants generally comment on areas of strength i n the written d r a f t s before moving on to address areas of need i n the d r a f t s . Ideally, Assistants address the needs of c l i e n t s and t h e i r d r a f t s h i e r a r c h i c a l l y . Assistants are trained to p r i o r i t i z e global (discourse-level) concerns. Local (sentence-level) concerns may or may not be mentioned, but i f they are dealt with, Assistants are trained to diagnose error patterns rather than dealing with each error i n d i v i d u a l l y . WRITING CONFERENCE FEEDBACK—CHARACTERISTICS Assignment One There were no writing conferences for Assignment One. A l l subjects received only teachers' written feedback on t h e i r d r a f t s of t h i s assignment. Assignment Two Approximately one-half the subjects received both teachers' written comments and writing conferences on t h e i r d r a f t s of Assignment Two. Writing conference dialogue between subjects and peer tutors was analyzed i n terms of idea unit (Chafe, 1980). The t o t a l number of idea units uttered i n writing 57 conferences on t h i s assignment averaged 213.11. Over h a l f those idea units (59.91%) were uttered by peer tutors and the remaining (40.09%) were uttered by student conferees. The content of writing conference feedback on Assignment Two dealt considerably more with global issues than d i d teacher feedback. Per-conference idea units pertaining to g l o b a l - l e v e l content and organization averaged 10.27% and 24.02% respectively, for a t o t a l of 34.29%. Idea units addressing l o c a l - l e v e l issues s t i l l accounted for the majority (65.71%) of the idea units per conference. Of the l o c a l issues, most idea units addressed language use (21.76%); the remaining idea units were f a i r l y balanced between the other l o c a l issues: mechanics (14.01%), vocabulary (12.97%), l o c a l - l e v e l organization (9.75%), and l o c a l - l e v e l content (7.22%). Unlike teachers' written feedback on t h i s assignment, the majority of the idea units per conference functioned to inform students (58.66%), not to d i r e c t them. Direction accounted for the next most idea units at 24.63%, while e l i c i t a t i o n accounted for 16.71%. (See Table 4.2.1 for c e l l means and standard deviations.) Assignment Three Only the writing conference group wrote drafts and received feedback on t h i s assignment. Like conference feedback on Assignment Two, writing conference feedback on t h i s assignment was analyzed i n terms of idea units. The t o t a l number of idea units uttered for these conferences averaged 248.713. Again, O O •J co CO CO VO VO CO CM CM CM • VD H II g CO co CO II g CO • vo II g CO co co CTl LO II S CO II g o\<> VO VO CO IT) CTl VO • II T3 CO CTl H II T3 10 CM VO CTl • CTl II -0 LO VO CM LO • CO II LO O H CO o CO II "d LO LO to CM CO T3 W LO o\<> 1< CO VO CO CM co co co II g CO VD T3 tn VO LO LO • CO II g LO H O CTl II T3 CTl CO CO CM CO CO • CO II T3 t/l CO LO II •d t/l VO LO LO LO CM r-• LO II to CO H II g CM CM CTl T3 to CT\ CO CO CO CO O • CM II -d to CO o\<> CO H co r--H CM vo en co co CM CM II •d to o o o • CO CM CO II •d to CO CO CO o o LO -d to CM CM CM II g CO vo LO -d to CO vo LO II to co CO CO • CM II g LO H CTl • CM II T3 10 CO • CM II g VO •d to VO VO vo CM CTl CO CO CO CM LO IT) LO VO CM H vo vo o co CM CM CM • CTl o\° H O vo CM CTl CM o\<> LO CTl CM O • CM o\<> CM CM CM to O rH o -p c OJ •P c o u <0 rH o o rH O O rH -p (0 > N U •rt (0 C rH tO 3 ^ U (0 o o o o II II > a) to D a) to (0 - H 0> (0 rH c si to tO O -P J 0) o £ EH -P •rH o H a w II II O J O J II II II U O O O r l S t H H Q B 59 over half the idea units (61.57%) were uttered by peer tutors and the remaining (38.43%) were uttered by student conferees. The content of writing conference feedback on Assignment Three focused even more on global issues than did eithe r teacher feedback or writing conferences on Assignment One. Per-conference idea units pertaining to g l o b a l - l e v e l content and organization averaged 29.66% and 15.30% respectively, for a t o t a l of 44.96%. Idea units addressing l o c a l - l e v e l issues accounted for 55.04% of the idea units per conference. Of the l o c a l issues, most idea units addressed language use (18.28%); the remaining idea units addressed l o c a l - l e v e l content (17.82%), vocabulary (9.05%), mechanics (5.97%), and l o c a l - l e v e l organization (3.92%). Again on t h i s assignment, the majority of the idea units per conference functioned to inform students (54.94%). This time, e l i c i t a t i o n accounted for the next most idea units at 23.88%, while d i r e c t i o n f e l l to 21.18% of the idea u n i t s . (See Table 4.2.2 for c e l l means and standard deviations.) Expert/Non-Expert Tutors An i n t e r e s t i n g contrast can be noted when the conferences of expert tutors are compared with novice tutors. Four of the writ i n g conferences were conducted by members of the professional Writing Center s t a f f , including the researcher h e r s e l f . Professional s t a f f regularly f a c i l i t a t e conferences as part of t h e i r own job duties. Note that conferences f a c i l i t a t e d by these so-called experts are s l i g h t l y less c o l l a b o r a t i v e , as CO o\o CTl o\o o o\o *f CM CO CO rH rH CTl • t f H LO CO • CO EH -tf CM H vo CO LO CO LO CO CM CO CM H CTl LO CTl CO o\<> VO CTl O LO VO r-CO O O O H CTl CM • O • LO • • • X • VO • CO CO H CTl LO LO II CO II • II II Tl II II Tl g CO g (0 g to O co H o H O o\<> CO CTl O CO • CTl H o O CM D • VO rH • • • • CM • CTl • CO CO H II CO II CM II CM H II T5 II T> II T( g CO g CO g (0 rH r- r> o\<> VO o CTl CO H LO LO H CO o CO O CO O co • o • • • • > • CO • • LO CO CTl 4-> vo II CO II II rH C II TS II TS II TJ CD g g CO g CO g (0 c cn • H LO O o\<> CO CO O co rH O CM co CO LO LO O CTl < H • • H CTl • • • CO • H • VO CO o II H II • II II TS II Tl II Tl o g CO g CO g CO (0 Si T5 CM CD CO CO O CTl CO o\» a) •>* O H LO CM O H • o H LO CO e> • CO LO • • • • Q) vo H • CM • LO co LO 0 o H II CM II II CM H c II T5 II T$ II T5 a) g CO g CO g CO <tH VO CTl rH c VO CO VO VO o\<> rd H 0 CO CM VO (O •<* CTl CO CM Si <d u CM • CO • H CO CM CO O 0 • VO CM H • • • rH O Cn CO H • H • VO r- rH U J C o H II CO II LO II CM H (Tj rH S S •H II T> II T5 II TS ,Q crj C C •P g CO g 10 g CQ O O O O CD • H rH O - H - H CO U O (J 4J 4-> <tf s s rd rd >i CD CO CT> CM rH CO CTl o\° 4J -p N N J-| CM VO LO H H CM VO C C -H *H (d Cn O • CO CM • vo CJ Q) C C rH rd - H • • CTl CM • • CM • • 4-i -P (d (d P 3 C g 4J +J H H • LO CM LO CTl C C tn Cn,Q CP Cd rH >-| O - H CJ CM II vo II H II CM O O JH JH cd c ^ cd o OJ o •<* II T5 II Tl II T5 U CJ O O CJ rd O 4-> <w >H -H g CO g CO g CO 0 J 0) O C -H H Q) II II II II > S E-t H Q W >-H .Q W O J O J II II II II II II II (0 H a EH EH u u o o > r l S H H Q H 61 shown by a greater percentage of conferencer-talk; are more inductive i n nature, as shown by a greater percentage of e l i c i t a t i o n ; and are considerably more focused on global versus l o c a l issues, as shown by a greater percentage of global t a l k (see Table 4.2.3) . Table 4.2.3 Contrast between expert and novice conferencers FACIL-ITATOR % GLOBAL % LOCAL % INFORM % DIRECT % ELICIT % TALK Expert 83 17 55 12 33 67 Novice 21 79 56 29 15 59 REVISIONS—CHARACTERISTICS Fourteen drafts were selected for the r e v i s i o n study based on t h e i r high or low h o l i s t i c score gains. Revisions were divided into two groups based on the score gains made between dr a f t and f i n a l versions of each assignment. "High r e v i s e r s " averaged a gain of +11.00 h o l i s t i c score points from d r a f t to f i n a l ; "low re v i s e r s " averaged a loss of -3.00 h o l i s t i c score points from dr a f t to f i n a l . A t - t e s t shows that the difference between the two groups i s s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t at the p>.005 l e v e l . The high revisers averaged 60.625 revisions per 928.875-word d r a f t . The low revisers averaged 32.002 re v i s i o n s per 843.667-word dr a f t . Adjusting for dra f t length, the high r e v i s e r s averaged 65.29 revisions per 1000 words, whereas the 62 low r e v i s e r s averaged 37.92 revisions per 1000 words. A t - t e s t shows that the difference i n the number of rev i s i o n s i s s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t at the p>.005 l e v e l . The content of the revisions made by each group varied. High r e v i s e r s tended to revise more g l o b a l l y than d i d low re v i s e r s : 28.86% of the high r e v i s e r s ' revisions were made i n global areas, whereas only 15.62% of low r e v i s e r s ' r e v i s i o n s were c l a s s i f i e d as addressing global issues. A t - t e s t shows that t h i s difference i s also s i g n i f i c a n t at the p>.005 l e v e l . The types of revisions made varied by group as well. High r e v i s e r s made more additions and deletions: 44.54% and 25.98% respec t i v e l y . Low revisers made fewer additions and deletions: 41.67% and 21.35%. Low revisers made many more substitutions than did high re v i s e r s : low revisers made 22.92% compared to high r e v i s e r s ' 12.58%. (See Tables 4.3.1 and 4.3.2 for a de t a i l e d contrast between groups.) The r e l a t i o n s h i p between revisions and feedback c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s was also investigated. Writing conference researchers have recommended that conferences be collab o r a t i v e , inductive, and global-issue oriented i n order to be successful. The e f f e c t s of these three feedback c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s were traced and r e l a t e d to global revisions and h o l i s t i c score gains. C o l l a b o r a t i o n — O f the fourteen cases i n the revisi o n s study, the seven cases which featured collaborative feedback were selected for further investigation regarding collaboration. (Revisions with teachers' written feedback could not be selected because ( LO \ Ul o o\° 1 o o\<> LO o\o O o\o CM CTl 73 o L0 CO CM CO LO H vo CM S o LO o> vo LO CM CT> • • O O LO O EH r- LO L0 CM O VD VO VD O CM H CM H H H rH LO r- O LO o\o LO CO H O H CM O r» CO LO CO o O LO CO. rH H CO • CM • o • CM CO • • X • VD H LO H H • VO O II • II • II • II H II II 73 II •a II 73 E LO E Ul B Ul B Ul CO co r» co O o\° LO vo L0 o o O o r- LO O LO CO o •<* o H D CO • • • LO • • * • H CO H • CO • VO H CO H II • II CM II LO II H H II -0 II -0 II 73 II B Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul O "3- CO O o\o o CM o LO o o O O LO CT* LO CO o CM o o O CM CM • CM • LO • o o • • > • H • H • o • CO CO CM II CM II co II • II rH II -0 II 73 II 73 II 73 B Ul B Ul S Ul B Ul LO o o\» LO CTl H H L0 H CM -* LO CO LO CO LO CO CM LO • C- CM co CM CO • • • rH CO • rH • H • CM CO o rH II • II • II > II Ul II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 C B Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul •H <d o ro L0 cu H o H L0 O i> u o VO o O o VO VO CO o o LO VO o O LO VO CO • • • 0 — . CM • o • CM • • ro CM CO o • II • II • II CM II II -d II II II 73 xi B Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul OV •H a i VO o O O o\<> i o t> LO CO O H L0 CO Ul o H r- CO o O LO CO CTl c •H LO • CO • o • r- r- • • 0 "»«. • • LO LO H CO • LO LO •H O II vo II • II • II H CM Ul II 73 II 73 II -0 II 73 vi e Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul OJ « o CTl CM L0 o\o LO o LO O o CM CM CM VO H LO CO o O LO CM VO H • CM • • o O CM • • • ro • • VD o • • CM • u CO II -a* II • II H II H CM II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 B Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul OJ •Q <0 < Q CQ EH EH 63 C c o o •rH •H -P -P tfl C C S rH O 0 -P •H -H -H B •P -P -P U •H CO W 0 73 rH XJ 4H 73 <1) 3 Q) <l Q tn II II II « I  II ii II < Q co IPH (0 43 O rH o -p c OJ -p c o u u (0 rH 42 <d 0 0 rH 0 O rH C o H -P <d (0 N N •rH - H C C (0 rd >1 rH O rH U CJ 3 tP43 rH rH (d o o o o II II > O rH II o o > OJ Ul OJ Ul en o rd -H 3 C CP (d C 43 (d -P 0 LO S CO o o o\o LO o\<> o o\<> CM CTi 73 o LO CO CM CO LO H VO CM £ o LO r> CTl VO LO CM CTi • • o o LO O EH r- LO LO t> CM O VO vo VO O CM H CM H H H H LO r> O LO o\P LO CO H O H CM O CO LO CO o O LO CO H H CO • CM • o • CM CO • • g • VO H LO H H • VO O II • II • II • II H II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 a co a CO a CO a CO co co t> CO o o\o LO vo LO o CTi o O o LO O LO CO o o H P CO • t-» • • LO • • • • rH CO H • CO • vo H CO rH II • II CM II LO II H rH II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 g CO a CO a CO a co O CO O o\o O CM o LO o o o O LO cn LO CO o CM o o o CM CM • CM • LO • o o • • > • H • H • o • CO CO CM II CM II co II • II H II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 a CO a CO a CO a CO LO o o\° LO CTl H H LO rH CM LO CO LO CO LO CO CM r> tl VO • r> CM CO CM CO • • • H ro • H • H • CM CO O H II • II • II • II co II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 c a CO a CO a CO a CO •rH (0 o CO LO oV> H o H LO o r> u o VO o o o VO r> vo CO o o LO VO o o LO VO CO • • • 0 CM • o • CM • • CO CM CO o • II • II • II CM II II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 xi a CO a CO a CO a CO •H « 1 VO o o O o\o 1 o r> LO ro o H LO CO CO o H CO o o LO CO CTl C i j LO • CO • o • • • 0 • • LO LO H CO • LO LO •H o II vo II • II • II H CM CO II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 vi a CO a CO a CO a CO OJ o CTl CM LO o\o LO «* o LO o o CM CM CM VO H LO CO o o LO CM vo H • o CM • • o o CM • • • • • vo o • • CM • o CO II II * II H II H CM II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 a CO a CO a CO a CO aj M ca < a CQ EH EH 64 C o •H -P • H 73 73 < C O •H -P cd rH a u o <4H OJ II II II II < a co p5 Cd rH Xi cd o o rH o cd X! o rH o -p c OJ -p c o U O O O O c d O - P O hi 0) o II II II II > g EH c c o o • H - i H •p -p (d cd N N • H - H c c cd td OJ CO k OJ LO cd cn O cd -H 3 C Cn Cn Xi Cn rd H U U (d C cd O J O J II II U U O O > J g E H 65 such feedback does not feature collaboration.) To measure degree of collaboration, the r a t i o of conferencer/conferee t a l k was determined for each writing conference. A greater degree of coll a b o r a t i o n i s evidenced by a higher percentage of conferee t a l k . Results of t h i s contrast show that there i s no p a r t i c u l a r e f f e c t on global revisions or on h o l i s t i c score gains of more highly c o l l a b o r a t i v e conferences (see Table 4.3.3). I t i s highly l i k e l y that even the least collaborative conference s t i l l featured enough negotiation to be considered c o l l a b o r a t i v e . Table 4.3.3 Collaboration related to r e v i s i o n CASE ASSIGN-MENT CONFEREE TALK GLOBAL REVISION SCORE GAIN 17 2 59% 12% +17.5 18 2 45% 12% + 7.5 18 3 45% 8% - 2.0 9 3 42% 20% + 8.0 12(NNS) 2 40% 14% + 6.5 14(NNS) 3 39% 41% + 1.0 22 3 30% 38% + 7.5 Induction—Of the fourteen cases i n the r e v i s i o n study, eight cases were selected for further investigation regarding the e f f e c t s of inductive teaching t e c h n i q u e s — s p e c i f i c a l l y e l i c i t a t i o n . These eight cases were selected based on those re v i s i o n s receiving the highest and the lowest percentages of e l i c i t o r y feedback. Not surprisingly, writing conferences 66 produced the four top cases of e l i c i t a t i o n , while teachers' written feedback produced the lowest four cases. But although e l i c i t a t i o n i s related to feedback type, i t does not seem to be relat e d i n any way to either global revisions or to h o l i s t i c score gains. Also unrelated, surprisingly, i s the degree of e l i c i t a t i o n and the degree of collaboration as measured by the r a t i o of conferencer-conferee t a l k (see Table 4.3.4). Table 4.3.4 E l i c i t a t i o n related to r e v i s i o n CASE ASSIGN-MENT FEEDBK. TYPE ELICIT-ATION GLOBAL REVISN. STUDENT TALK SCORE GAIN 14-NNS 3 WCF 41% 41% 39% + 1.0 22 3 WCF 31% 38% 30% + 7.5 18 2 WCF 25% 12% 45% + 7.5 17 2 WCF 18% 12% 59% + 17.5 13-NNS 1 TWF 0% 13% — - 9.0 6 1 TWF 0% 51% — + 16.5 5 1 TWF 0% 71% — +14.5 2 1 TWF 0% 12% — - 3.5 WCF = Writing conference feedback TWF = Teachers' written feedback Global-Local P r i o r i t y — O f the fourteen cases i n the r e v i s i o n study, eight cases were selected for further i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the g l o b a l - l o c a l p r i o r i t y . The four cases with the highest percentage of global feedback were contrasted with four cases with the lowest percentage of global feedback (see Table 4.3.5). This contrast reveals that, except i n the case of nonnative 67 speakers, global feedback seems to promote global r e v i s i o n s and higher h o l i s t i c score gains. Table 4.3.5 Global feedback related to r e v i s i o n CASE # ASSIGN-MENT FEEDBACK TYPE GLOBAL FEEDBACK GLOBAL REVISION SCORE GAIN 14-NNS 3 WCF 99% 41% + 1.0 22 3 WCF 87% 38% + 7.5 5 1 TWF 42% 71% + 14.5 6 1 TWF 35% 51% +16. 5 18 3 WCF 14% 8% - 2.0 12-NNS 1 TWF 9% 2% + 6.5 2 2 TWF 7% 0% - 3.5 19 2 TWF 2% 9% - 1.0 WCF = Writing conference feedback TWF = Teachers' written feedback HOLISTIC SCORES A l l d r a f t and f i n a l versions were h o l i s t i c a l l y rated by two raters using the Jacobs et a l . (1981) scale. Both r a t e r s ' scores were averaged and are shown i n Table 4.4.1 below: 68 Table 4.4.1 H o l i s t i c scores of assignments 1-3 ASSIGNMENT MEAN SCORE STD. DEV. Assign. #1, draft 70.736 8.854 Assign. #1, f i n a l 73.500 10.519 Assign. #2, dra f t 74.633 5.315 Assign. #2, f i n a l 78.500 6. 749 Assign. #3, dr a f t * 72.715 5.869 Assign. #3, f i n a l 77.000 8.026 In Table 4.4.2 below, the differences between f i n a l and dr a f t h o l i s t i c scores are compared by subject group, where the TWF Group received only teacher feedback and where the WCF Group received one or more writing conferences: Table 4.4.2 H o l i s t i c score gains by feedback type HOLISTIC SCORE GAINS TWF GROUP WCF GROUP Assignment #1 +7.79 +1. 22 Assignment #2 + .92 +6.00 Assignment #3 (no draft) +4.43 QUESTIONNAIRES At the beginning of the study and again 10 weeks l a t e r , 69 subjects f i l l e d out questionnaires. In one section of the questionnaire examining attitudes toward writing, subjects responded to a Likert-type scale asking them to agree or disagree to certa i n statements about writing. In another section of the questionnaire, subjects were asked to rank order issues of r e v i s i o n . (A copy of the questionnaires can be found i n Appendix A and B.) Results show that subjects from both the TWF and the WCF Groups grew to l i k e writing t h e i r ideas down at the same time that they became more f e a r f u l of writing a paper. WCF Group subjects were less confident about t h e i r writing both at the s t a r t and at the f i n i s h of the study. The TWF and WCF groups ranked r e v i s i o n issues d i f f e r e n t l y : the TWF group tended to p r i o r i t i z e l o c a l issues. These re s u l t s are recorded i n Tables 4.5.1 and 4.5.2. Although they indicated a greater l i k i n g for writing than did NS, NNS expressed less confidence i n t h e i r writing a b i l i t y than NS, and t h i s lack of confidence persisted over the course of the study. As f a r as re v i s i o n issues, NNS ranked the issue of content as much more important than did t h e i r NS counterparts. These r e s u l t s are recorded i n Tables 4.5.3 and 4.5.4 w U PH $5 & H VO CO O vo W o CO O CTl • • H « PH LO CN H O O w o fa 1 1 1 + 1 1 fa fa H £ Q En 1 1 fa O PH O o o o o O fa o o o o o o O PM PH o CM CM H w o fa 1 + 1 1 + 1 fa fa H U Q £ PH !=> LO CO LO O co co co H VO H CO vo CO H 1 PH CM H LO H H CO H CM I a H CO H • r- t- • co co H • EH H CO fa CN II CO II CM II CO II CO II CO II O 12 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 PH EH g to g (0 g CO g to g to g to PH & CTl Ol O O o r- o CM o H o VD O CM o 00 1 PH O H o CM o CO o H o t-~ o O 1 o LO • CN « CM • o CO LO CTl LO • EH • rH • H • H • • • • rH CO fa CN II co II CO II CO II CO II CO II o u II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 PH IS g w g CO g (0 g (0 g to g to PH D CM CO O CO en r*» O <* H CTl CO VO PH H LO CN CM LO O H H CM H LO 1 O • CO <n • "tf • CO • 1 • • • H • • • H • H • H W fa CN II CO II CM II CO II CO II CO II PH £ II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 . PH EH g to g to g CO g to g to g CO PH D CO O O CO o en O VD o CO O CTl o CO PH o co o CO o VO o o O VD o CO 1 O 1 CM I'- CTl CM • " * VD CTl r-' W fa CN II CO ll CO II CO II CO II CO II PH U II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 PH 12 g to g to g to g to g to g CO 0" rH CM CO LO VO « EH 55 CO fa H rH rH VO 3 o 5 P4 PH EH W EH a CO fa vo CN H LO CO S o u 2 PH £ 2 M b co H CN CO LO VO S « 3= « CL, EH co 0) 55 fa fa CN H CO LO VO o 3 « CJ c 2 PH s OJ u OJ CM » PH c CN VO vo CO CO LO o o ro vo O vo CO vo O O CO O VO o 1 PH1 CO CO O CO CO CO O vo O vo O CN 1 o CO • O • CO • O • O « o • en EH • H • CN • H • H • rH • H c CO fa CO II CO II CO II CO II CO II LO II - H O 5 II TJ II T3 II 73 II XJ II TJ II TJ -p PH EH g CO g CO g CO g CO g CO g CO •H M PH >1 !=> H VO LO CTl O Xi o o r- o CO o VO o CO o H o r> 1 Pi o CN o CO O CN o CN o VO o CO co 1 CD vo • o • VO • CTl • CN • H • EH • CN • H • H • H • H • H co fa -a- II CO II CN II CO II CO II CO II 10 o u II T3 II *0 II T5 II X5 II XJ II TS 10 P-I s g CO g CO g CO g CO g CO g CO • H c 0 PH • H D CTl LO O vo CTl o CO vo vo H o vo CTl r-• H P4 00 r-- LO CTl CO LO o H CN CO > 1 O CN • CO VO H • CN CTl o CO "* OJ 1 • H fa fa CO II H II CN II CO II LO II LO II PH S II II T3 II T3 II -d II TJ II -d <w PH EH g CO g CO g CO g CO g CO g co 0 OJ PH D CTl LO CTi CN u O o H o VO O VO o H o CO O CO 0 P4 o CO o CN o CN o CTl o vo o CO 1 CD • VO « LO • rH • CN • rH 1 • CN • H • H • H • H • • c fa fa CO II CN II CN II CO II II LO II PH CJ II T) II TJ II T) II T) II T) II n PC PH £ g CO g CO g CO g CO g CO g CO CN EH 1 1 PH LT) 55 H 55 u S 1 • w W £5 O fa CO fa ^ « EH <j H 55 55 3 CO CO 55 CD EH 55 o CJ CJ OJ CO O PH < O H EH PH w H rH H CJ O N CJ EH CO CD S 55 •Q 1 w u ' 55 t-» H o o o w VO CO LO LO o PH *tf o CM CM CM LO w fa 1 l 1 + + H fa co 1 H 53 P £ 1 fa U 55 o o o o CO o fa O LO o CO LO CO PH LO CM o CM O CM fa fa 1 1 + 1 1 1 fa H CO Q 55 H O VO O CTl o O O VO O rH 1 o rH o CM LO LO LO LO O rH O 1 o CO LO • cn CM CTi O CO O • EH H CO CO CN II CN II CO II CO II <tf II CO II O 55 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 PH 55 S LO E Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul B LO H CM CM O CM r- LO CM CTi CTl CO CO o vo CM LO 1 VO VD CO rH vo O o o LO VO VO O 1 CTl CO • • ro • CM CO • EH • • • H • H • H • • * H CO CM II CO II CM II ro II ro II ro II O CO II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 PH 55 s LO B Ul B Ul 6 Ul B Ul 6 Ul CO o o o LO o H o o o o vo LO LO CM o LO o o 1 LO LO CTl • o • r- LO LO LO 1 • • • • • H • H • • • • W CO CM II CM II co II CO II co II II PH 55 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 PH 55 n Ul S Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul CTi CO o CM o VO CO r*- CO CM O CM VD VD VO o H co VO o cn H 1 CTl CTi o CO LO CTl CO cn VO • 1 H fa CM II CO II CO II CO II CO II CO II Pi CO II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 PH 55 B Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul B Ul H CM CO LO VO Ul (0 u u OJ Q) CO OH XJ X Ul B (0 3 OJ OJ C ft > Ul •H c -P 0 <D (Tj • H > C •P - H c Ul -P 0 OJ <C 55 3 55 a II II II CO CO 55 55 « H 55 co co co H H VO in ro <2 O 55 « PH 55 « En 55 CO CO H CO H in S o w « PH 55 55 W CO H CM CO in VO <2 P4 55 « PH 55 55 W •>* CM H ro in vo < PH CO « PH 55 co -p vo CM o CN o (0 o •<* O CO O o o O o vo o o -p 1 o vo O O o o O in O o o CQ 1 o • O • O • O o CN • o • EH • CM • H • rH • i • CN • rH CO co co ro II CM II CM II in II co II CO II 55 O 55 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 55 PH 55 g CO g CO g CQ g CQ g CQ g CQ co 55 >i co CO O co CO CO ja in vo H CM H CM CTl o CO 1 CO o CO o co CO o VO CO 1 ro • CM • o • CM • o • o • OJ EH • CM • CM • H • H • H • H CO II CO II CO II CO II ro II II CO O CO II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 CQ PH 55 g CQ E CQ E CO E CO g CQ g CQ •H c o •H O rH VO r> CO o O o CTl o CN o rH o rH o r> •H o O o CM o CO o in CM o r> > 1 in * in • o • o • CN • in in Q) 1 • H • H • H • H • CN • • >H W CO H II CM II CO II in II CO II in II PS 55 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 m . PH 55 g CO g CQ g CO g CQ g CQ g CO 0 u 0) 73 r> CM rH JH CO rH CTl in CN CO CN rH o CM CTl VO O in rH H H CN VO in O 1 CTl • CM • H • VO • cn CO H CO 1 • H • H • H • H • • • • c W CO II CM II CM II CM II II in II PC CO II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 II 73 PH 55 g CO g CQ g CQ g CQ g CQ g CQ • EH i 1 Pi 55 H 55 u S I • W W O w CO w <! E3 EH H 55 55 X CO CO 55 O EH 55 O >H u U OJ CO O PS < O H EH PH w H H U O N U EH CO o £ 55 74 INTERPRETATION In t h i s section, the res u l t s of the research w i l l be discussed i n terms of the research questions posed i n Chapter 1. Teacher Feedback—What are the characteristics of teacher feedback and what are its effects on writing proficiency? This research bears out other research into the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of teachers' written feedback. In t h i s case, in s t r u c t o r ' s written comments are negative, confusing, and form-focused. Less than 3% of the t o t a l number of comments were p o s i t i v e . Nearly 5% of the feedback comments were u n i n t e l l i g i b l e to the raters. Apparently even more comments were u n i n t e l l i g i b l e to the students because ethnographic evidence suggests that many students took advantage of writing conferences to get t h e i r teacher's comments interpreted. Several subjects e x p l i c i t l y stated i n t h e i r writing conferences that they hadn't understood many of the comments t h e i r teacher made. Others sought the instructor d i r e c t l y for an explanation. This feedback also proved t y p i c a l l y form-focused, although, i n t e r e s t i n g l y , a combination of marginal and i n t e r l i n e a r comments proved s i g n i f i c a n t l y more form-focused than did endnote comments. Marginal/interlinear commentary also proved more d i r e c t i v e than did endnote feedback, although both were s i g n i f i c a n t l y more d i r e c t i v e than was writing conference feedback. But how does teacher feedback r e l a t e to writing proficiency? On the f i r s t assignment, a l l subjects averaged a 75 gain of about four points from the d r a f t to f i n a l version. However, subjects i n the two groups gained d i f f e r e n t l y . Those who never received writing conference feedback, the TWF Group, gained nearly 8 points, whereas those who received writing conferences on Assignments Two and/or Three, the WCF Group, gained a l i t t l e over 1 point. On t h i s assignment, some writers c l e a r l y p r o f i t e d from the teacher's feedback; they were enabled to make revisions that improved o v e r a l l the o v e r a l l writing q u a l i t y i n the f i n a l d r aft. Other writers did not p r o f i t from feedback i n the same way. Those who seemed to p r o f i t most from TWF received feedback with higher percentages of global-issue oriented feedback. On the second assignment, teachers' written feedback appeared to be of limited benefit to a l l writers, perhaps because the marginal/interlinear s t y l e of Assignment Two's feedback was far less global-issue oriented. On the basis of Assignment One r e s u l t s , one might predict that the TWF Group's h o l i s t i c scores would again increase about eight points and that the WCF Group's h o l i s t i c scores would increase about one point. Instead, quite d i f f e r e n t r e s u l t s emerge. The TWF Group's h o l i s t i c scores rose not even one point, where the WCF Group's h o l i s t i c scores rose about six points. Since the WCF Group p r o f i t e d l i t t l e from written feedback on the f i r s t assignment, i t seems u n l i k e l y that teachers' written feedback i s responsible for t h i s group's score gains on t h i s assignment. Instead, i t seems much more l i k e l y that t h i s gain i s a d i r e c t e f f e c t of 76 writing conferences. Writing Conference Feedback—What are the characteristics of writing conference feedback and what are its effects on writing proficiency? This research confirms the contrast between TWF and WCF: WCF i s more oriented toward global issues and i t provides more informative and e l i c i t o r y feedback than did teachers' written feedback. Interestingly, t h i s research also indicates a cle a r difference between writing conferences conducted by experts and those conducted by novice peer tutors. While experts f a c i l i t a t e w r i t i n g conferences that are s l i g h t l y less c o l l a b o r a t i v e , t h e i r conferences are more i n l i n e with the l i t e r a t u r e ' s recommendations for inductive and global-issue oriented conference. While t h e i r conferences tend to be s l i g h t l y more coll a b o r a t i v e , novices f a c i l i t a t e writing conferences that tend to be more d i r e c t i v e and less inductive and s i g n i f i c a n t l y less global-issue oriented. Writing conferences appear to have a p o s i t i v e e f f e c t on writ i n g proficiency. In Assignment One, the WCF Group did not receive writing conferences and gained only a l i t t l e over a point between the draft and f i n a l versions. In Assignment Two, on the other hand, t h i s same group gained almost s i x points between the dra f t and f i n a l version. How much of that score gain can be attributed to written feedback i s not cle a r , but one might predict, based on Assignment One, that only a l i t t l e over one point of the six-point gain could be attributed to teachers' 77 written feedback, leaving nearly a five-point gain a t t r i b u t a b l e to w r i t i n g conferences. A t t r i b u t i n g t h i s gain to writing conferences can be confirmed by looking at Assignment Three: where there was no written feedback, the WCF Group s t i l l gained well over four points between the draft and f i n a l versions. Revision—What is the relationship between number and type of revision and writing proficiency? I t does appear that the number of revisions i s moderately correlated (r=.577) with the h o l i s t i c score gains between dr a f t and f i n a l versions. On average, high revisers revised 72% more than did low r e v i s e r s . Other studies, e s p e c i a l l y Faigley and Witte's (1981, 1984) posit no c o r r e l a t i o n between the number of r e v i s i o n s and writing proficiency. On the other hand, these same studies do suggest a highly p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p between meaning changes (equivalent to global revisions) and revised d r a f t q u a l i t y . Yet i n the current study, global r e v i s i o n s are only moderately correlated (r=.504) with h o l i s t i c score gains. C l e a r l y successful r e v i s i o n , that i s , r e v i s i o n that leads to higher d r a f t quality, i s more than a matter of just number or type of r e v i s i o n . While feedback function appears unrelated to global r e v i s i o n s and higher h o l i s t i c scores, feedback content does appear to be related to both. Drafts whose authors received more global-issue oriented feedback made more global revisions and achieved higher h o l i s t i c score gains. Attitudes—What effect does teacher's written feedback have on 78 students' attitudes toward writing and revision? What effect does writing conference feedback have on students' attitudes toward writing and revision? There were s l i g h t changes i n the subjects' attitudes toward wri t i n g from the beginning of t h i s study to the end. A f t e r 12 weeks, subjects as a whole registered very l i t t l e (very s l i g h t l y negative) change i n t h e i r l e v e l of enjoyment of writing. Subjects were s l i g h t l y more l i k e l y to agree that they are not good at writing and that they don't write as well as t h e i r classmates. On the other hand, they were also s l i g h t l y more l i k e l y to agree that they f e e l confident i n t h e i r a b i l i t y to write. The greatest pre and post differences were with Questions 1 and 6: at the same time subjects came to agree more with the statement that they l i k e to write t h e i r ideas down, they also came to agree more with the statement that writing a paper i s a very frightening experience. The WCF Group proved to be d i f f e r e n t from the TWF Group from the s t a r t of the study. The pre questionnaire showed that the writing conference group was less confident with t h e i r a b i l i t y to express t h e i r ideas i n writing. Subjects from t h i s group were also more l i k e l y to agree that they didn't write as well as t h e i r classmates. This lack of confidence could account for why these subjects volunteered to p a r t i c i p a t e i n writing conferences i n the f i r s t place. Pre and post comparisons show that for subjects i n both groups, writing a paper became more frightening. On the other 79 hand, subjects i n both groups also became more l i k e l y to agree that they l i k e d to write. The TWF Group grew f e a r f u l to a greater extent than did the WCF Group. But the TWF Group also grew to l i k e writing to a greater extent than the WCF Group. S t i l l , the WCF Group continued to be less confident of t h e i r w r i t i n g s k i l l s even at the end of the study. This lack of confidence may explain why the TWF Group made greater a f f e c t i v e gains over time. There were also differences between NS and NNS subject groups at the beginning of the study. Though NNS indicated that they l i k e d writing more than did NS and though writing a paper frightened NNS less than i t frightened NS, NNS were more l i k e l y to agree that they were bad at writing; they also expressed far less confidence and rated themselves as poorer writers than t h e i r classmates. Over time, NNS continued to display quite d i f f e r e n t writing attitude p r o f i l e s than t h e i r NS counterparts: unlike NS, NNS enjoyed writing less at the end of the study than at the beginning, and, again unlike NS, NNS had no greater confidence i n t h e i r writing a b i l i t i e s at the end of the study than they had at the beginning. Over the course of the study, there were changes i n the subjects' view of r e v i s i o n . While the subjects continued to place organization and connections as the top two issues of p r i o r i t y , subjects changed t h e i r views on content and grammar. Whereas content had ranked fourth i n the pre questionnaire, i t slipped to s i x t h (last) i n the post questionnaire. Grammar 80 appeared f i f t h i n the pre questionnaire, but rose to t h i r d i n the post questionnaire. This suggests that subjects increasingly saw re v i s i o n as a matter of f i x i n g grammar as opposed to developing content. Instruction seems the most l i k e l y cause of t h i s change i n view. The ins t r u c t o r focused almost exclusively on grammatical concerns for h i s grading c r i t e r i a , and h i s feedback r e f l e c t e d the p r i o r i t y of l o c a l concerns. Also the product-oriented nature of the i n - c l a s s w r i t i n g i n s t r u c t i o n heavily featured grammatical structure. While the WCF Group and the TWF Group ranked r e v i s i o n issues s i m i l a r l y at the beginning of the study, by the end, they exhibited some s i g n i f i c a n t differences. For example, though both groups ranked content low, the TWF Group ranked i t two spots higher than did the WCF Group. This i s somewhat sur p r i s i n g since the WCF Group received much more global feedback, feedback that would reinforce the importance of content. The most s i g n i f i c a n t contrast, however, comes i n the ranking of the issue "grammar." The TWF Group ranked grammar as most important (tied with two other categories), while the WCF Group ranked grammar fourth. The fact that there was less feedback on grammar among the WCF subjects most l i k e l y accounts for the fac t that they saw grammar as less important. At the s t a r t of the study, NS and NNS had considerably d i f f e r e n t views of the importance of at least one r e v i s i o n issue: content. While NS ranked content as fourth most important, NNS ranked i t f i r s t . NNS also ranked s t y l e and 81 connections as less important than did NS. Over time, both groups came to agree on the r e l a t i v e importance of organization and connections, but i n other ways, the p r o f i l e s of NS and NNS grew more disparate. Although content slipped to third-most important to NNS, i t slipped to si x t h among NS. And while grammar ranked number 1 with NS, i t ranked f i f t h with NNS. SUMMARY This chapter discusses the res u l t s of the study i n terms of the research questions posed in Chapter 1. S p e c i f i c a l l y , the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and ef f e c t s of teachers' written feedback were delineated as were the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and e f f e c t s of writing conference feedback. The relationship between feedback c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and types and revisions was also explored. F i n a l l y , the relat i o n s h i p between feedback type and attitudes toward wri t i n g and r e v i s i o n was also discussed. 82 CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION OF THE STUDY INTRODUCTION This chapter w i l l present an overview of the previous four chapters. There w i l l be a discussion of the s i g n i f i c a n t r e s u l t s of the research; t h e i r implications for the teaching of writing w i l l also be discussed. F i n a l l y , the l i m i t a t i o n s of t h i s study and the recommendations for further research w i l l be highlighted. BACKGROUND Writing i s p a r t i c u l a r l y d i f f i c u l t to teach because i t i s not quite a d i s c i p l i n e — i t cannot be mastered by learning facts, and i t i s not quite a s k i l l — n e i t h e r can i t be mastered by repeating a mechanical action. An added d i f f i c u l t y with teaching writing i s that inexperienced student writers often have misconceptions about what the writing process e n t a i l s : i n p a r t i c u l a r they misunderstand the nature of r e v i s i o n and underestimate i t s importance to good writing (Faigley & Witte, 1981, 1984; Flower, 1985; Harris & S i l v a , 1993; Lindemann, 1987) . Because of these d i f f i c u l t i e s , composition teachers look for techniques to intervene i n the writing process, techniques that i d e a l l y guide students to become better writers and write better products. Feedback on w r i t i n g — p a r t i c u l a r l y formative f e e d b a c k — i s one technique that teachers hope promotes both better writing and better writers. T r a d i t i o n a l l y , that feedback has been 83 provided by teachers i n the form of written comments on student d r a f t s . Recent research, however, has cast that type of feedback i n a negative l i g h t , both i n i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and i n i t s e f f e c t s (Brannon & Knoblauch, 1982; Cohen, 1987; Cohen & Cavalcanti, 1990; H i l l o c k s , 1986; Leki, 1990; Robb et a l . , 1986; Sommers, 1982; Zamel, 1985, 1987). P a r t l y i n response to growing doubts about written feedback's effectiveness and p a r t l y i n response to s o c i a l constructionist philosophies of writing, some pedagogists have begun to advocate a more i n t e r a c t i v e form of feedback on drafts: the writing conference. Writing conference feedback and i t s e f f e c t s may vary according to who f a c i l i t a t e s them—teachers, peers, or peer tutors. Although some researchers have studied the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and effects of teacher and peer conferences, researchers have not yet studied the pedagogical effectiveness of w r i t i n g conferences f a c i l i t a t e d by peer tutors. Neither have researchers contrasted the effects of teachers' written feedback with the peer-tutor writing conferences t y p i c a l l y offered i n campus wri t i n g centers. THE LITERATURE Research into the nature of teachers' written feedback reveals i t as t y p i c a l l y negative (Brannon & Knoblauch, 1982; Daiker, 1989; H i l l o c k s , 1986; Leki, 1990; Sommers, 1982), contradictory (Butler, 1980; Robb et a l . , 1986; Sommers, 1982; Zamel, 1985), and form-focused (Cohen, 1987; Cohen & Cavalcanti, 1990; Leki, 1990; Robb et a l . , 1986; Zamel, 1985, 1987). 84 Researchers speculate that teachers' written feedback i s the way i t i s because teachers prematurely adopt the r o l e of evaluator and judge of student texts (Brannon & Knoblauch, 1982; Leki, 1990; Sommers, 1982). Researchers also speculate that each of these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s has detrimental effects on writers and t h e i r writing: negative feedback leads to a lack of confidence i n wri t i n g a b i l i t y and a general negativity toward writing (Hillocks, 1986), contradictory feedback leads to a confusion over which issues take p r i o r i t y i n r e v i s i o n (Zamel, 1985), and form-focused feedback leads to a perpetuation of inexperienced write r s ' sense of r e v i s i o n as a mere matter of t e x t - t i d y i n g (Sommers, 1982). Experiments that have manipulated the nature of the written feedback that students receive have yielded mixed r e s u l t s . Some researchers advocate only p o s i t i v e feedback, since i t seems to promote products equal i n quality to those promoted by t y p i c a l feedback (Zak, 1990). Other researchers advocate feedback with a balanced focus on both content and form as b e n e f i c i a l to writers and writing (Fathman & Whalley, 1990). S t i l l other researchers advocate content-only feedback as b e n e f i c i a l to wri t i n g at both the ideational and grammatical l e v e l (Kepner, 1991). Based on Kuhnian (1970) and Vygostkian (1978) notions of knowledge and writing as s o c i a l acts, writing conferences generate feedback that contrasts with written feedback; writing 85 conferences introduce a face-to-face in t e r a c t i o n between writers and representative readers. Experts recommend that these conference interactions follow certain p r e s c r i p t i v e i d e a l s : since conferences should be collaborative, writing conferencers should be non-directive and non-authoritarian (Taylor, 1993; Murray, 1985); since conferences should feature inductive teaching techniques, writing conferencers should promote inquiry (Johnson, 1993; Beach, 1989); and since conferences should stimulate r h e t o r i c a l revision, conferencers should p r i o r i t i z e feedback on global over l o c a l issues (Harris & S i l v a , 1993; Reigstad & McAndrew, 1981). These same basic conference practices should be followed, with s l i g h t modification, even i f the student participant i s a nonnative English speaker (Harris & S i l v a , 1993). Conference practice recommendations may be easier or more d i f f i c u l t to follow depending on the conference f a c i l i t a t o r . Teachers, i t i s thought, have a more d i f f i c u l t time maintaining a c o l l a b o r a t i v e stance because of t h e i r classroom authority and ultimate r o l e as evaluator (Gere & Stevens, 1985; Ulichny & Watson-Gegeo, 1989) . Peer conferencers, on the other hand, quite e a s i l y maintain a collaborative stance because of t h e i r p o s i t i o n as equals with t h e i r conferees (Nystrand & Brandt, 1989) . But peers often have l i t t l e expertise i n the writing process or i n writing; they often judge student texts quite d i f f e r e n t l y than teachers which may l i m i t t h e i r a b i l i t y to o f f e r useful feedback (Newkirk, 1984). Peer tutors, on the other 86 hand, are i n the unique position to of f e r expertise while at the same time maintaining a collaborative stance (Hawkins, 198 0; Trimbur, 1987) . Empirical evidence on t e a c h e r - f a c i l i t a t e d conferences confirms the d i f f i c u l t i e s that teachers have i n maintaining collaboration, but researchers disagree as to what extent a d i r e c t i v e r o l e interferes with conference benefits. While Sperling (1990, 1991) claims that conference dialogues of tremendous var i e t y work equally successfully, other researchers i n s i s t that a student-centered dialogue i s e s s e n t i a l to conference success (Goldstein & Conrad, 1990; Jacobs & Karline r , 1977; Newkirk, 1989; Walker & E l i a s , 1987). Empirical evidence on p e e r - f a c i l i t a t e d writing conferences tends to support the notion that student-centered dialogue i s easier to maintain when the f a c i l i t a t o r s are peers; i n fact, empirical evidence supports a number of benefits of peer conferences, including gains i n writ i n g and r e v i s i o n s k i l l s (Nystrand, 1986; Nystrand & Brandt, 1989) . Unfortunately, very l i t t l e of the research into either teacher- or peer- f a c i l i t a t e d conferences includes nonnative English speaking student participants and provides a d e f i n i t i o n of successful conferences based on either successful r e v i s i o n , f i n a l d r a f t quality, or more po s i t i v e student attitudes toward writing and r e v i s i o n . Only one study (Hedgecock & Lefkowitz, 1992) contrasts teachers' written feedback with peer writing conferences. 87 METHODS From an upper-division, university computer science course that featured three writing assignments, seventeen volunteers (thirteen native speakers and four nonnative speakers) were selected and divided into two groups. A l l subjects wrote three papers—two u s a b i l i t y analyses of software and one l i t e r a t u r e summary. For Assignment One, both groups received only teachers' written comments on t h e i r drafts. For Assignment Two, both groups again received teachers' written feedback on t h e i r d r a f t s ; but t h i s time, several subjects from the WCF Group also received a peer-tutor writing conference. For Assignment Three, the TWF Group wrote no drafts and received no feedback, whereas several subjects (but not a l l ) from the WCF Group did write d r a f t s and received peer-tutor writing conference feedback on those d r a f t s . A l l WCF Group subjects received at l e a s t one w r i t i n g conference. These peer-tutor conferences lasted between t h i r t y and s i x t y minutes and took place i n the campus Writing Center. A l l subjects also f i l l e d out pre and post questionnaires concerning t h e i r attitudes toward wr i t i n g and r e v i s i o n . Data c o l l e c t e d included pre and post questionnaires, photocopies of a l l drafts and f i n a l versions of each assignment, photocopies of a l l teachers' written comments on a l l d r a f t s , and audio tapes of a l l writing conferences. Writing conferences were also observed and transcribed by the researcher. Draft and f i n a l versions of a l l papers were h o l i s t i c a l l y 88 rated by two raters (IRR=.9342) according to the Jacobs et a l . (1981) h o l i s t i c r a t i n g scale. Instructor feedback was coded according to the researcher's coding scheme that included 21 categories (see Appendix C for category d e f i n i t i o n s and examples). A second rater checked 11% of the comments (IRR=.8788). Writing conference dialogue was coded according to the same coding scheme as was teachers' written feedback (see Appendix D for category d e f i n i t i o n s and examples). A second ra t e r coded t r a n s c r i p t s from 8% of the writing conference dialogue (IRR=.9056). Fourteen drafts were selected for a r e v i s i o n study based on t h e i r very high and very low h o l i s t i c score gains. Revisions were coded according to the researcher's coding scheme that included 28 categories (see Appendix E for category d e f i n i t i o n s and examples). A second rate r checked 10% of the revisions (IRR=.8832). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Teachers' Written Feedback (TWF)—This study confirms teachers' written feedback as t y p i c a l l y negative, vague and contradictory, and form-focused: less than 5% of the feedback was p o s i t i v e , at le a s t some of the feedback was u n i n t e l l i g i b l e according to students, and the majority of the feedback—82% of endnote-style feedback and 93% of marginal/interlinear-style feedback was focused on l o c a l issues. Even so, teachers' written feedback was h e l p f u l for some student writers under some conditions. The TWF Group r e v i s i n g Assignment One gained almost 8 points i n score from the d r a f t to 89 f i n a l versions of t h e i r papers. Interestingly, the TWF f o r t h i s group was considerably more focused on global rather than l o c a l issues; for t h i s group, 42% of the comments addressed global issues, compared to the average 18%. I t seems highly l i k e l y that the successful revisions performed by t h i s group of students can be attributed to the more global nature of the commentary. In contrast, the same group of students r e v i s i n g Assignment Two received only 5% global feedback; these students' h o l i s t i c scores gained less than one point between d r a f t s . Teachers' written feedback can promote global r e v i s i o n s and lead to w r i t i n g proficiency gains to the extent that the commentary i s directed at d r a f t s ' global issues. I t appears that endnote-s t y l e feedback i s more l i k e l y to be global than i s mar g i n a l / i n t e r l i n e a r - s t y l e feedback. Writing Conference Feedback (WCF)—Writing conference experts promote three main q u a l i t i e s of the i d e a l w r i t i n g conference: w r i t i n g conferences should be highly collaborative, they should be c h i e f l y inductive, and they should p r i o r i t i z e global issues. The research into actual peer-tutor conferences can be analyzed according to these c r i t e r i a : C o l l a b o r a t i o n — S i n c e there appears to be no r e l a t i o n s h i p between percentage of conferee t a l k and subsequent r e v i s i o n and writing q u a l i t y , t h i s researcher concludes that a l l these writing conferences were s u f f i c i e n t l y collaborative to be useful to the students. The least collaborative conferences (as measured by the percentage of conferee talk) were those conferences 90 f a c i l i t a t e d by the experts. This higher percentage of conferencer t a l k i s not surprising i n that experts would tend to be invested with authority more l i k e a teacher would be. This research, then, indicates that a l l peer-tutor conferences are co l l a b o r a t i v e . At the same time, t h i s research seems to indicate that the more the conferencer i s invested with teacherly authority, the less collaborative the conference i s l i k e l y to be. Induction—This research c a l l s into question the accepted notion that inquiry i s the preferred stance of the conferencer. The research f i r s t notes that the percent of conferencer t a l k functioning to e l i c i t conferee responses had no p a r t i c u l a r r e l a t i o n s h i p with global revisions or writing p r o f i c i e n c y gains. This research also reveals a lack of c o r r e l a t i o n between e l i c i t a t i o n and the percentage of conferee t a l k . Experts promote the strategy of questioning to e l i c i t student response. But the most e l i c i t o r y conferences were the same conferences i n which the conferencer did most of the t a l k i n g . Global-Local P r i o r i t y — T h e content of writing conference dialogue seems to be d i r e c t l y related to the subsequent rev i s i o n s performed by the conferee. This r e l a t i o n s h i p i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noticeable when the ta l k focused on global issues i s compared to the global nature of subsequent r e v i s i o n s . In both kinds of feedback, the more global i t i s i n focus, the more global the students' subsequent revisions. Interestingly, actual peer-tutor writing conferences do not feature global 91 feedback as much as one might expect from reading about i d e a l conferences. While writing conferences averaged more global feedback than did teachers' written feedback (WCF=37% global, TWF=12% global), there i s a clear contrast between conferences directed by experts, where up to 99% of the dialogue featured global issues, and conferences directed by peer-tutors, where as l i t t l e as 10% of the dialogue featured global issues. R e v i s i o n — T h i s research suggests that the content of feedback i s rela t e d to the content of the subsequent r e v i s i o n . In p a r t i c u l a r , global feedback leads to global r e v i s i o n , while l o c a l feedback leads to l o c a l r e v i s i o n . Global feedback also appears to stimulate a higher number of r e v i s i o n s . Unlike feedback content, however, the feedback function seemed unrelated to r e v i s i o n or writing quality. No p a r t i c u l a r l y s i g n i f i c a n t contrasts were found when feedback varied by informative, d i r e c t i v e , or e l i c i t o r y function. This research also substantiates the long-held-but-uninvestigated claim that global revisions lead to higher q u a l i t y d r a f t s . And t h i s research refutes the claim that the number of revisions i s not related to higher q u a l i t y d r a f t s . A t t i t u d e s — T h e r e l a t i o n s h i p between feedback type and changes i n attitudes toward writing i s unclear. Subjects from the WCF Group were less confident about t h e i r writing at both the beginning and the end of the study. Both feedback groups l i k e d to write t h e i r ideas down more so at the end of the study than they d i d at the beginning, but the more confident group (TWF 92 Group) grew to enjoy writing more. Contradictorily, both groups also grew more f e a r f u l of writing papers, though the WCF Group grew f e a r f u l to a lesser degree than did the TWF Group. NNS grew considerably more f e a r f u l of writing papers than d i d NS and they also grew to enjoy writing less. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to explain these r e s u l t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y the contradictions. Apparently some complex combination of feedback and i n s t r u c t i o n accounts f o r students' attitude changes, since no c l e a r cut r e l a t i o n s h i p between feedback type and attitude changes emerges. S i m i l a r l y , the relationship between feedback type and attitudes toward r e v i s i o n issues i s unclear. Although a l l subjects p r i o r i t i z e d organization as important (both pre and post), only at the beginning of the study did NNS subjects have a c l e a r sense of the p r i o r i t y of content. A l l other subjects saw content as limited in importance, and t h i s sense of unimportance only increased over time. Subjects receiving TWF grew to see grammar as the number one r e v i s i o n concern over the course of the study. In contrast, while the WCF Group's sense of the importance of grammar grew, t h i s Group continued to see grammar as a r e l a t i v e l y unimportant r e v i s i o n issue. Once again, i t i s impossible i n t h i s study to separate the e f f e c t s of feedback from the e f f e c t s of inst r u c t i o n . Overall, the product-focused, grammar-oriented approach to i n s t r u c t i o n would tend emphasize the importance of l o c a l r e v i s i o n concerns such as grammar while diminishing the importance of global r e v i s i o n concerns such as content. 93 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY Another study of t h i s nature should have more subjects and they should be randomly selected. Subjects of equal w r i t i n g p r o f i c i e n c y should have been randomly assigned to two separate treatment groups. Subjects should have received e i t h e r TWF or WCF but not both. A l l subjects should have been required to write d r a f t s of a l l papers. This lack of uniformity and most p a r t i c u l a r l y because of the volunteer nature of these few subjects make i t impossible to generalize the r e s u l t s of t h i s study to other populations. On a related point, there were not enough nonnative speaking subjects for t h i s study. Though the proportion r e f l e c t e d the classroom demographics, the small NNS sample makes contrasting the native speaking subjects with the nonnative speaking subjects d i f f i c u l t at best. The researcher i s not sure whether there are differences i n the types of TWF and WCF that nonnative speakers receive. Additionally, i t appears that NNS v i o l a t e several of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s that the general or NS population exhibited. Yet these differences were exhibited by so few NNS subjects, that i t i s impossible to make generalizations about NNS based on t h i s small sample. Another study should have more control over the i n s t r u c t i o n subjects received. Though a l l subjects had access to the same in s t r u c t i o n , not a l l subjects attended every c l a s s , so not a l l subjects received the same ins t r u c t i o n . In addition, the i n s t r u c t i o n often contradicted the goals of writing conference 94 pedagogy. I t i s not possible to say how the i n s t r u c t i o n affected or interfered with students' revisions, writing, and t h e i r attitudes toward both. The researcher could not account for the e f f e c t s of time constraints on writing and rev i s i o n . At the beginning of the quarter, students had a r e l a t i v e l y greater amount of time for both the i n i t i a l d r a f t and the subsequent r e v i s i o n . Assignments Two and Three were due nearly at the end of the quarter and many subjects expressed that they were under l o t s of pressure to get many assignments for both t h i s and other classes turned i n at the same time. I t i s not known how the pressure of these time constraints affected both the quality of the revisi o n s and the qu a l i t y of the writing. IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING WRITING 1. Teachers should p r i o r i t i z e global feedback or else they needn't bother writing comments. Professors and teachers should be trained i n giving global feedback on writing. 2. Because of i t s collaborative nature, writing conference feedback featuring peer-tutor f a c i l i t a t o r s should be used. Special attention should be paid by conferencers to p r i o r i t i z i n g global feedback. 3. Despite t h e i r t r a i n i n g i n a philosophy that advocates global feedback, novice peer tutors don't appear to p r i o r i t i z e global issues the way expert tutors do. Peer tutors should be trained i n s p e c i f i c strategies for p r i o r i t i z i n g global feedback. 4. Since global revisions correlate with gains i n writing 95 pr o f i c i e n c y , maybe global r e v i s i o n should be e x p l i c i t l y taught. 5. Neither TWF or WCF lead to large immediate gains i n writing p r o f i c i e n c y ; feedback may be needed over a longer term f o r s i g n i f i c a n t proficiency gains to be r e a l i z e d . IMPLICATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH 1. What e f f e c t does TWF that p r i o r i t i z e s global issues have on r e v i s i o n and writing proficiency? 2. Future research on TWF should separate feedback by type (endnote or marginal/interlinear). 3. What i s the contrast between teacher f a c i l i t a t e d and peer tutor f a c i l i t a t e d writing conferences? 4. What i s the int e r r e l a t i o n s h i p between numbers and types of revi s i o n s on o v e r a l l draft quality? 5. Research of t h i s nature should be conducted among subjects learning to write i n other d i s c i p l i n e s . 6. 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College Composition and Communication, 33/2, 148-156. Sperling, M. (1990) . I want to t a l k to each of you: Collaboration and the teacher-student writing conference. Research in the Teaching of English, 24/3, 279-321. Sperling, M. (1991). Dialogues of deliberation: Conversation i n the teacher-student writing conference. Written Communication, 8/2, 131-162. Taylor, D. (1993). A counseling approach to writing conferences. In T. Flynn & M. King (Eds.), Dynamics of the writing conference: Social and cognitive interaction, (pp. 24-33). Urbana, 111.: NCTE. Trimbur, J. (1987). Peer tutoring: A contradiction i n terms? The Writing Center Journal, 7/2, 21-28. Ulichny, P., & Watson-Gegeo, K.A. (1989). Interactions and authority: The dominant interpretive framework i n writing conferences. Discourse Processes, 12, 309-328. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP. Walker, CP., & E l i a s , D. (1987). Writing conference t a l k : Factors associated with high-and low-rated w r i t i n g conferences. Research in the Teaching of English, 21/3, 266-285. 101 Zak, F. (1990). Exclusively p o s i t i v e responses to student writi n g . Journal of Basic Writing, 9/2, 40-53. Zamel, V. (1987). Recent research on writing pedagogy. TESOL Quarterly, 21/4, 697-715. (1985). Responding to student writing. TESOL Quarterly, 19/1, 79-101. (1983). The composing processes of advanced ESL students: Six case studies. TESOL Quarterly, 17/2, 165-187. 102 APPENDIX A: PRE-QUESTIONNAIRE QUESTIONNAIRE Vo l u n t e e r # The study e n t i t l e d " I n s t r u c t o r s ' W r i t t e n Feedback Versus Peer-Tutor W r i t i n g Conferences: The E f f e c t s of Feedback Method on R e v i s i o n s " i s a study which seeks t o compare the e f f e c t s of two types of feedback on w r i t t e n r e v i s i o n . The r e s e a r c h e r s i n t h i s study a r e Dr. Lee Gunderson (604-822-6287) and Roberta Buck (650-7338). The q u e s t i o n n a i r e you are being asked to f i l l out w i l l r e q u i r e about 30 minutes t o complete. I f you do not wish t o answer a l l or any of the f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n s , you may re f u s e t o do so without j e o p a r d i z i n g y o u r s e l f or your course grade. F i l l i n g out the q u e s t i o n n a i r e w i l l be evidence of your consent t o do so. Your c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y w i l l be p r o t e c t e d ; o n l y the researcher w i l l know your i d e n t i t y . PART 1: Please read the following statements and circle the number that indicates the extent to which you agree or disagree with each statement. DISAGREE 1. I like to write my ideas down. 2. I'm no good at writing. 3. I feel confident in my ability to clearly express my ideas in writing. 4. I don't think I write as well as most of my classmates. 5. I enjoy writing. 6. Writing a paper is a very frightening experience for me. STRONGLY AGREE 2 3 2 3 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 4 STRONGLY 5 5 5 5 PART II: Please answer the following questions: 7. How much time do you plan to spend revising each paper you write for this class? HOURS MINUTES 103 8. Six important writing issues are listed below. Please rank order them according to which issue you expect to take most of your attention when you revise your papers. (1 = most attention . . . 6 = least attention) Topic development (Content) Organization Connections (Transitions) Style Grammar Mechanics Briefly explain why you'll pay most attention to the issue ranked 1. 9. Think about your process of writing a paper-from the time you get the assignment till the time you hand it in. a. Are you happy with your process? YES NO b. Using the back of this form, please briefly describe your writing process. 104 APPENDIX B: POST-QUESTIONNAIRE QUESTIONNAIRE Volunteer # The study e n t i t l e d " I n s t r u c t o r s ' W r i t t e n Feedback Versus Peer-Tutor W r i t i n g Conferences: The E f f e c t s of Feedback Method on R e v i s i o n s " i s a study which seeks to compare the e f f e c t s of two types of feedback on w r i t t e n r e v i s i o n . The re s e a r c h e r s i n t h i s study are Dr. Lee Gunderson (604-822-6287) and Roberta Buck (650-7338). The q u e s t i o n n a i r e you are being asked t o f i l l out w i l l r e q u i r e about 30 minutes t o complete. I f you do not wish t o answer a l l or any of the f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n s , you may r e f u s e t o do so without j e o p a r d i z i n g y o u r s e l f or your course grade. F i l l i n g out the q u e s t i o n n a i r e w i l l be evidence of your consent t o do so. Your c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y w i l l be p r o t e c t e d ; o n l y the researcher w i l l know your i d e n t i t y . PART 1: Please read the following statements and circle the number that indicates the extent to which you agree or disagree with each statement. 1. I like to write my ideas down. 2. I'm no good at writing. 3. I feel confident in my ability to clearly express my ideas in writing. 4. I don't think I write as well as most of my classmates. 5. I enjoy writing. 6. Writing a paper is a very frightening experience for me. STRONGLY AGREE STRONGLY DISAGREE 2 3 4 5 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 PART II: Please answer the following questions: 7. How much time did you spend revising each paper you write for this class? HOURS MINUTES 8. How many minutes did you spend talking with your instructor about revising your papers? Paper #1 MINUTES Paper #2 MINUTES Paper #3 MINUTES 105 9. Six important writing issues are listed below. Please rank order them according to which issue took most of your attention when you revised your papers. (1 = most attention . . . 6 = least attention) Topic development (Content) Organization Connections (Transitions) Style Grammar Mechanics Briefly explain why you paid most attention to the issue ranked 1. 10. Think about your process of writing a paper~f rom the time you get the assignment till the time you hand it in. a. Are you happy with your process? YES NO b. Please briefly describe your writing process. Part III: If you used the Writing Center, please complete the following question. 11. What effect, if any, did the Writing Center have on your writing or your writing process? 106 APPENDIX C: Teachers' Written Feedback Coding Scheme The f i r s t example i n each category i s taken from the endnotes comments. The second example i s taken from the marginal/interlinear comments. Inform/Content-global (ICG): The purpose of the idea uni t (IU) i s to inform about discourse-level content. "This material i s inappropriate to an executive summary." "Your o v e r a l l thesis i s not c l e a r . . . " Direct/Content-global (DCG): The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t discourse-level content. "In the rewrite, be sure to make your u s a b i l i t y analysis more complete." No Example. Eli c i t / C o n t e n t - g l o b a l (ECG): The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about discourse-level content. "What would such an explanation look l i k e ? " "Topic?" Inform/Content-local (ICL): The purpose of the IU i s to inform about l o c a l - l e v e l content. "I don't understand t h i s sentence." "This description (of a term) doesn't help." Direct/Content-local (DCL): The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t l o c a l - l e v e l content. " . . . [ t h i s ] need not be stated e x p l i c i t l y . " 107 "This (term) should be explained." E l i c i t / C o n t e n t - l o c a l (ECL): The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about l o c a l - l e v e l content. "What i s representing what here (referring to a sentence)?" Inform/Organization-global (106): The purpose of the IU i s to inform about organization on a global l e v e l . "This information belongs i n the introduction." "You are suddenly introducing a new idea." Direct/Organization-global (DOG): The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t organization on a global l e v e l . "You need to rethink your headings." "You need to rethink the relat i o n s h i p between the paragraphs that make up t h i s essay." El i c i t / O r g a n i z a t i o n - g l o b a l (EOG): The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about organization on a global l e v e l . No Example. "What i s the sequence (of paragraphs)?" Inform/Organization-local (IOL): The purpose of the IU i s to inform about organization on a l o c a l l e v e l . "This (sentence) i s too abrupt." "This (sentence) needs to be introduced better." Direct/Organization-local (DOL): The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t organization at the l o c a l l e v e l . "Connect these (sentences)." E l i c i t / O r g a n i z a t i o n - l o c a l (EOL): The purpose of the IU i s 108 to e l i c i t information about organization at the l o c a l l e v e l . No example. "How does t h i s (sentence) re l a t e to the r e s t of the paragraph?" Inform/Vocabulary (IV) : The purpose of the IU i s to inform about vocabulary. "These terms are just conventional Internet names." "Colloquialism" Direct/Vocabulary (DV) : The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t vocabulary. "'Shortcoming' would be better." 'For an example' corrected to 'for example' [in-text mark] Elicit/Vocabulary (EV) : The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about vocabulary. "Do you mean 'bug' or 'design flaw'?" "Are these terms supposed to be obvious?" Inform/Language Use (ILU) : The purpose of the IU i s to inform about language use. "And the verb i s missing." "Antecedent" Direct/Language Use (DLU) : The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t language use. "Grammar—'be'" Examples not transcribable. (Marginal feedback featured i n s t r u c t o r correction of language use problems; these 109 corrections were counted as directive.) Elicit/Language Use (ELU) : The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about language use. "Antecedent?" Inform/Mechanics (IM): The purpose of the IU i s to inform about mechanics. There are no examples of IM i n the data. Direct/Mechanics (DM): The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t mechanics. Feedback i n t h i s category took the form of either i n d i c a t i n g an error i n , or deleting or adding the correct punctuation or s p e l l i n g . Elicit/Mechanics (EM): The purpose i s to e l i c i t information about mechanics. No Example. "Cita t i o n s ? " 110 APPENDIX D: Writing Conference Coding Scheme Inform/Content-global (ICG): The purpose of the IU i s to inform about discourse-level content. "Well, you do have a r e a l l y general thesis paragraph here." "I f e e l l i k e every paragraph says exactly the same thing." Direct/Content-global (DCG): The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t discourse-level content. "You might want to say something more s p e c i f i c l i k e X." "Look over each paragraph..." Eli c i t / C o n t e n t - g l o b a l (ECG): The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about discourse-level content. "Is t h i s your thesis?" "What do you see as the topic of t h i s paragraph?" Inform/Content-local (ICL): The purpose of the IU i s to inform about l o c a l - l e v e l content. "Well, now he's t e l l i n g me they're on one PC..." "Yeah, i t takes time to make software..." Direct/Content-local (DCL): The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t l o c a l - l e v e l content. "You might want to s t a r t out that way..." "...play around with i t . " E l i c i t / C o n t e n t - l o c a l (ECL): The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about l o c a l - l e v e l content. "What would ' t h i s ' be?" "Do you think t h i s (sentence) needs to be expanded i n terms of content?" Inform/Organization-global (106) : The purpose of the IU i s to inform about organization on a global l e v e l . "You have an out-of-order paragraph here." "I t ' s hard to do a summary and make i t a l l f i t together." Direct/Organization-global (DOG): The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t organization on a global l e v e l . "Those [paragraphs] d e f i n i t e l y need to be f l i p - f l o p p e d . " " I f some [paragraphs] cover the same thing, combine them." Eli c i t / O r g a n i z a t i o n - g l o b a l (EOG): The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about organization on a global l e v e l . "Did you follow i t (referring to whole paper)?" "How important i s i t to deal with paragraph structure?" Inform/Organization-local (IOL): The purpose of the IU i s to inform about organization on a l o c a l l e v e l . "I don't get t h i s connection [between sentences] very c l e a r l y . " "The previous sentence can establish the connection..." Direct/Organization-local (DOL): The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t organization at the l o c a l l e v e l . "You could say something l i k e 'but' or 'however'." "You might want to st a r t here with your t r a n s i t i o n [word] ." E l i c i t / O r g a n i z a t i o n - l o c a l (EOL): The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about organization at the l o c a l l e v e l . "Should I ref e r back to i t (sentence) at the beginning of 112 t h i s (next sentence) then?" "...what would I do down here (referring to next sentence) to t i e i t in?" Inform/Vocabulary (IV): The purpose of the IU i s to inform about vocabulary. "Okay, so 'figured out' i s a phrase we would use i n casual writing..." "'There was t h i s g i r l ' i s a colloquialism." Direct/Vocabulary (DV) : The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t vocabulary. "I guess, my recommendation would be to use keywords exclusively." " I t seems l i k e 'researched' or 'discovered'." Elicit/Vocabulary (EV) : The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about vocabulary. "What's another word for 'user'?" "What would you say the d e f i n i t i o n of ' u s a b i l i t y ' i s ? " Inf orm/Language Use (ILU) : The purpose of the IU i s to inform about language use. "'This' needs an antecedent." "...you kind of dropped an 's' or something..." Direct/Language Use (DLU) : The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t language use. "You could have 'which' r e f e r r i n g back to 'standardized equipment'..." 113 "...you should get r i d of t h i s phrase here e n t i r e l y . " Elicit/Language Use (ELU) : The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about language use. "Should I have (dropped the 's')?" "Is t h i s one (sentence) okay?" Inform/Mechanics (IM): The purpose of the IU i s to inform about mechanics. "I wasn't sure i f I did a period there..." "There are two spellings for ' i t s ' . . . " Direct/Mechanics (DM): The purpose of the IU i s to d i r e c t mechanics. "The quotes should go outside the period." "...you might put a dash here or something." Elicit/Mechanics (EM): The purpose of the IU i s to e l i c i t information about mechanics. "How do you think that could be improved (sentence needs d i f f e r e n t punctuation)?" "So do you want a contraction or a possessive pronoun?" 114 APPENDIX E: Revision Coding Scheme Add/Content-global (ACG): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to add g l o b a l - l e v e l content. DRAFT: no comparable sentence FINAL: "Libs' u s a b i l i t y , unfortunately, i s lacking i n two areas: i t s dialogue and reliance on user memory." [added thesis] Delete/Content-global (DLCG): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to delete g l o b a l - l e v e l content. DRAFT: "Libs i s a program grasping for an i d e n t i t y . " [deleted introductory sentence] FINAL: no comparable sentence Substitute/Content-global (SCG): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to substitute g l o b a l - l e v e l content. Data contains no example. Reformulate/Content-global (RCG): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to reformulate g l o b a l - l e v e l content. DRAFT: "Part of being easy to use would include information as to what i t i s doing presented i n an i n t e l l i g i b l e manner." FINAL: "Libs should include information as to what i t i s doing and present that information i n an i n t e l l i g i b l e manner..." Add/Content-local (ACL): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to add l o c a l - l e v e l content. 115 DRAFT: "Upon s t a r t up Libs gives a stream of unnecessary Kermit babble." FINAL: Upon s t a r t up Libs gives a stream of Kermit babble which i s unnecessary and confusing." Delete/Conteht-local (DLCL): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to delete l o c a l - l e v e l content. DRAFT: "Unfortunately Libs shows i t s hand i n a l l the wrong places." FINAL: no corresponding sentence Substitute/Content-local (SCL): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to substitute l o c a l - l e v e l content. Reformulate/Content-local (RCL): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to reformulate l o c a l - l e v e l content. DRAFT: "...type i n the given 'telnet XXX.XXXX.XXXX' l i n e . " FINAL: "...use telnet manually." Add/Organization-global (AOG): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to add to gl o b a l - l e v e l r e v i s i o n . DRAFT: no corresponding sentence FINAL: "The f i n a l competitor for the Pentium chip i s made by the people at Cryix." [added sentence connects new paragraph to the previous one] Delete/Organization-global (DLOG): Data contained no examples. Substitute/Organization-global (SOG): Data contained no examples. 116 Reformulate/Organization-global (R06): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to reformulate (reconfigure) g l o b a l - l e v e l organization. DRAFT: "Moving back and forth i n the menus i s quite easy, so a forgotten menu location i s simple and quickly relocated." FINAL: "Moving back and forth i n the menus i s quite easy, so a forgotten menu location i s simple and quickly relocated." [moved to d i f f e r e n t paragraph] Add/Organization-local (AOL): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to add an organizational device at the l o c a l l e v e l . DRAFT: "A novice user would have to..." FINAL: "A novice user, on the other hand, would have to..." Delete/Organization-local (DLOL): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to delete an organizational device at the l o c a l l e v e l . DRAFT: "In fact, i n performance tests the Power PC proves to be more than a match for the Pentium chip." FINAL: "In performance tests the Power PC proves to be more than a match for the Pentium chip." Substitute/Organization-local (SOL): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to substitute organizational devices at the l o c a l l e v e l . DRAFT: "In t h i s market Int e l has offered up i t s l a t e s t technical achievement, the Pentium chip." 117 FINAL: "To t h i s user Int e l has offered up i t s l a t e s t technical achievement, the Pentium chip." [connects to previous sentence that refers to a user] Reformulate/Organization-local (ROL): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to reformulate l o c a l - l e v e l organization. DRAFT: ".. . c o n f i d e n t i a l information, s t e a l i n g computers, or implant virus into system..." FINAL: ". . . c o n f i d e n t i a l information and computer v i r u s , or ste a l i n g computers." Add/Vocabulary (AV): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to add vocabulary. DRAFT: "This i s a weak point..." FINAL: "This i s a r e a l weak point..." Delete/Vocabulary (DLV): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to delete vocabulary. DRAFT: "Objects represent data that i s to be compiled and stored." FINAL: "Objects represent data that i s to be stored." Substitute/Vocabulary (SV): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to substitute vocabulary. DRAFT: "Data i n an object-oriented database are represented as a single e n t i t y . . . " FINAL: "Data i n an object-oriented database symbolize a single e n t i t y . . . " Reformulate/Vocabulary (RV): 118 Data contains no example. Add/Language Use (ALU): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to make language use additions. DRAFT: "The disc can also be stolen by outsider..." FINAL: "The disc can also be stolen by an outsider..." Delete/Language Use (DLLU): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to make language use deletions. DRAFT: "We have here i s a system that..." FINAL: "...we have here a system that..." Substitute/Language Use (SLU): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to make language use substitutions. DRAFT: "...what we could do to protect..." FINAL: "...what we can do to protect..." Reformulate/Language Use (RLU): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to make language use reformulations. DRAFT: " I t i s hard for user to follow the i n s t r u c t i o n w e l l . " FINAL: "..., so i t i s hard for users to follow the ins t r u c t i o n well." Add/Mechanics (AM): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to make mechanical additions. DRAFT: "The object i d e n t i f i e r , which i s assigned by the database replaces the conventional method of primary keys." FINAL: "The object i d e n t i f i e r , which i s assigned by the database, replaces the conventional method of primary c 119 keys." Delete/Mechanics (DLM): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to make mechanical deletions. DRAFT: "This e s s e n t i a l l y uses the host as a 'phone operator'." FINAL: "This e s s e n t i a l l y uses the host as a phone operator." Substitute/Mechanics (SM): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to make mechanical substitutions. DRAFT: "...then users can not do any thing..." FINAL: "...then users cannot do any thing..." Reformulate/Mechanics (RM): The purpose of the r e v i s i o n i s to make mechanical reformulations. DRAFT: "'In the beginning' most t r a f f i c on Internet was handled by mainframes. SLIP connectivity was rare." FINAL: "'In the beginning most t r a f f i c on Internet was handled by mainframes. SLIP connectivity was rare.'" 

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