Students' revision practices and attitudes in response to surface-related feedback as compared to content-related feedback on their writing
Covill, Amy Elizabeth
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This study tested the assertion made by many writing instruction experts that teachers' written comments on students' writing should primarily concern the ideas or content of the writing and not the mechanics or surface features. The academic and affective responses of 10th and 11th grade students toward the two kinds of feedback (content-related and surface-related) were assessed using a between-subjects design. For examination of students' affective response, each student's gender and writing ability were taken into account. Specifically, I studied students' academic response to the two kinds of feedback by examining students' revisions (time spent revising, type of revisions, and improvement between drafts). I assessed students' affective response by examining their attitudes toward the feedback, revising, and writing.Results suggest that students are starved for feedback that is useful for improving their texts; less important is whether that feedback relates to the surface features of their texts or the content. However, some positive effects of the provision of content feedback did emerge.First, students receiving content feedback spent more time revising than did students receiving surface feedback. Second, content feedback recipients used the feedback to make more content-related revisions to their texts than did surface feedback recipients, but this effect of feedback does not carryover to when students are revising on their own. The condition effect for changes made in response to feedback is almost eliminated when changes made independently by students are added to the changes made in response to feedback. Only an effect for microstructure changes remains. Third, content feedback recipients may have a more positive attitude toward revising, especially the females. Finally, it may be most important to provide content-related feedback to low skill female writers. This group had the most positive attitude toward content feedback, and their second drafts showed the most improvement over their first drafts compared to the other gender/skill groups.
- Education - Seattle