Written corrective feedback in the lower secondary EFL classroom

exploring questions of what, how and why in observed and self-reported teacher practice

  • Elin Maria Berg University of Agder
Keywords: Written corrective feedback, comprehensive feedback, longitudinal classroom research, qualitative learner corpus research, EFL.


For decades, scholarly debates have been concerned with the effect of corrective feedback (CF), both written and oral, on L2 language development. Much of the research that supports written corrective feedback (WCF) comes from short-term focused feedback studies, representing a type of feedback practice not necessarily applicable in classroom contexts. This has pointed to a need for more classroom research of authentic WCF and its effect on written learner language. Attempting to explore authentic classroom data longitudinally, this article presents a Norwegian case study of two English teachers’ WCF provided to three students during three years of lower secondary EFL instruction. The student texts are part of the TRAWL (Tracking Written Learner Language) corpus and were collected from obligatory mock exams. The texts came with teacher WCF as well as revised versions. Semi-structured interviews with the teachers provided information about the teachers’ practices and beliefs related to WCF. The collected data was analyzed qualitatively and later discussed against cognitive, motivational, and sociocultural theories. The process of tracking changes in error patterns confirmed some of the issues with using accuracy and global error scores as a measurement for improvement and development, interpreted as proof of learning in language acquisition research. The data further suggests that students do not engage with feedback enough to benefit from its learning potential.