A diagnostic approach to focused written corrective feedback

Icy LEE, Na LUO, Wing Wah Pauline MAK

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Despite the large amount of time second language (L2) teachers spend responding to errors in student writing, their written corrective feedback (WCF) practice does not seem to be effective in helping students improve written accuracy. As a result, it is suggested that teachers should re-think the conventional WCF approach that addresses all written errors comprehensively in favour of an alternative approach that targets specific error categories – i.e. focused WCF. Research on focused WCF that can inform classroom practice, however, is limited since much of it has been conducted in experimental / quasi-experimental classrooms that bear little resemblance to authentic classroom contexts. Such research has little pedagogical relevance to real classroom situations, giving teachers little idea about how best to go about focused WCF. This provides the impetus for the present study, which is part of a larger research project that investigates the implementation of focused WCF in secondary classrooms in Hong Kong. As part of the larger study, the present investigation aims to provide baseline data about students’ error patterns so as to inform a diagnostic approach to focused WCF. Conducted in two Secondary 3 (one band 1 and one band 2) classrooms with 121 students, this study utilizes a picture writing test that generates useful diagnostic information about the S3 students’ relative strengths and weaknesses with regard to written accuracy, also revealing the severest error patterns among the students. Error analysis was performed on the 121 student texts collected from the participating students, using error codes generated from a pilot study. The error patterns of the students are presented and pedagogical implications for a diagnostic approach to WCF practice are discussed. Copyright © 2019 Inaugural Conference on Language Teaching and Learning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


Lee, I., Luo, N., & Mak, P. (2019, June). A diagnostic approach to focused written corrective feedback. Paper presented at the Inaugural Conference on Language Teaching and Learning: Cognition and Identity: Transforming Language Education and Research, Empowering Teachers and Learners, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


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