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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effects of tiered corrective feedback on second language academic writing Anderson, Timothy


The impact that corrective feedback (CF) has on second language (L2) writing has garnered significant attention in the field of second language acquisition (SLA). The many varieties of written CF available mean that while there is comfort in the potential options, there is often confusion in the choice; teachers still struggle to implement the most effective method of responding to students’ writing and students still struggle to effectively implement the feedback. This study reports on the effects of tiered focused metalinguistic CF on the reduction of grammatical errors in 39 intermediate adult ESL students’ academic writing at a major Canadian university. Student’s t-tests for paired samples were used to measure the influence of CF on the reduction of targeted error, and a repeated measures design was used to calculate the between-subject effects of the CF treatment to determine the result of feedback versus no feedback on the different dependent variables. Using a theoretical framework based on Vygotsky and Piaget’s social and cognitive constructivism, this thesis valued the role of self-discovery in the implementation of corrective feedback. This study also used questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to inquire into students’ feelings and perceptions regarding the feedback process. Data from the quantitative statistics suggest that the corrective feedback used in this study resulted in a reduction of targeted error and that this reduction was statistically significant. Results also indicate that as the corrective feedback lessened in focus it appears to have lessened in effectiveness. Finally, this thesis concludes with suggestions for further research and a discussion of the quantitative and qualitative findings. The results demonstrate that the feedback treatment outperformed no feedback in statistically significant ways, although the students reported with high frequency their distaste regarding the type of CF used in this study.

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