ERIC Number: ED354965
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: N/A
Developmental Students' Processing of Teacher Feedback in Composition Instruction.
MacDonald, Ross B.
Review of Research in Developmental Education, v8 n5 1991
Drawing from a review of the literature on feedback in two fields, English education and social psychology, this paper sets forth a set of theoretical conclusions and practical suggestions for developmental English instructors and others to use in providing feedback to composition students. First, the research on written feedback in English classes is reviewed, indicating that while teachers assume that students attend to the feedback they receive on their papers, learn about writing in relation to some ideal goal or next step, and incorporate learning into their future writing efforts, study findings actually show that: (1) teachers often write confusing or superficial comments that focus on surface errors, may be contradictory, and that reflect paternalistic attitudes; (2) students often misunderstand the teachers' feedback; (3) teachers' feedback about essay content is associated with better essays than feedback about language, grammar, and usage; (4) many students do not read their teachers' written feedback, and those who do read the comments seldom use them as guides in revising or writing papers; and (5) students' primary interest is their grade on a given composition, not teacher comments. Next, the paper reviews social psychology research, providing support for the notion that poor-achieving composition students will tend to discredit their teachers' written and oral feedback in order to preserve a positive view of self. The final sections of the paper discuss the implications of the feedback research for composition theory, developmental writing instruction, and further research. (AC)
Descriptors: Basic Writing, Educational Research, Error Correction, Feedback, Higher Education, Learning Processes, Remedial Instruction, Social Psychology, Teaching Methods, Writing Instruction, Writing Teachers
Managing Editor, RRIDE, National Center for Developmental Education, Reich College of Education, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608 ($9.50/year subscription).
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers; Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: Appalachian State Univ., Boone, NC. Center for Developmental Education.