What higher education students do with teacher feedback: Feedback-practice implications

  • Marcelle Harran


Writing pedagogy research has constantly maintained that feedback is ‘an essential component of virtually every model of the writing process’ (Hall, 1990: 43) as it motivates writers to improve their next draft. Feedback during the writing process improves not only student attitude to writing but writing performance if students are given unlimited opportunities to respond to teacher feedback and continue writing (Ferris, 1995). Feedback research, therefore, suggests a causal relationship between teacher feedback practices during text production, student attitude and writing performance. However, a four-year longitudinal study conducted at a higher education institution monitoring student perceptions of written feedback on essay drafts found that the impact of feedback practices on writing performance was limited (Harran, 1999). The article briefly overviews the longitudinal study’s findings and then describes a second study conducted at the same institution to pursue research assertions that specific,  non-directive and interactive feedback practices have a causal relationship not only with student attitude to writing and writing performance but motivates action to improve writing. The article describes the feedback practices implemented in the second study which students perceived as motivating and improved writing quality though redrafting.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2011, 29(4): 419–434

Author Biography

Marcelle Harran
Senior Lecturer: Applied Language Studies, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, PO Box 77000, Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614