Tutor Feedback on Draft Essays : developing students' academic writing and subject knowledge

Court, Krista (2014) Tutor Feedback on Draft Essays : developing students' academic writing and subject knowledge. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 38 (3). pp. 327-345. ISSN 0309-877X

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Providing feedback on draft essays is an accepted means of enacting a social-constructivist approach to assessment, aligning with current views on the value of formative feedback and assessment for learning (AFL). However, the use of this process as a means of improving not only content but also students' academic writing skills has not been widely studied, despite a widespread perception that there is scope for intervention at university level. This article explores the developmental potential of a drafting/tutor feedback/redrafting process on a first-year undergraduate course for trainee English language teachers at a UK university. The aims of this small-scale, largely qualitative study were to ascertain students' perceptions of the process and to determine the extent to which the process could contribute to the development of students' academic writing. Data are derived from first and second draft essay marks and questionnaires administered to 32 students. Findings suggest that feedback on drafts is acted on and can contribute to improved work when it is timely and detailed and when it raises students' metacognitive awareness, as was the case in this project. Also noteworthy, however, are the students' perceptions that redrafting is cognitively challenging and time-consuming. Comments from a less academically confident student with regard to the quantity of feedback and its detrimental impact are of particular concern. Questions are raised regarding the use of tutor reformulation, the sustainability of AFL and the provision of feedback to – and its interpretation by – weaker students. Finally, some key indicators for improved future practice are presented.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Further and Higher Education
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30 May 2024 10:50
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31 May 2024 02:25