The purpose of this study was to test the effect of one approach to writing pedagogy on second-language (L2) writing accuracy. This study used two groups of L2 writers who were learning English as a second language: a control group (n = 19) who were taught with traditional process writing methods and a treatment group (n = 28) who were taught with an innovative approach to L2 writing pedagogy. The methodology for the treatment group was designed to improve L2 writing accuracy by raising the linguistic awareness of the learners through error correction. Central to the instructional methodology were four essential characteristics of error correction including feedback that was manageable, meaningful, timely, and constant. Core components of the treatment included having students write a 10-minute composition each day, and having teachers provide students with coded feedback on their daily writing, help students to use a variety of resources to track their progress, and encourage students to apply what they learned in subsequent writing. Fourteen repeated measures tests using a mixed model ANOVA suggest that the treatment improved mechanical accuracy, lexical accuracy, and certain categories of grammatical accuracy. Though the treatment had a negligible effect on rhetorical competence and writing fluency, findings suggest a small to moderate effect favoring the control group in the development of writing complexity. These findings seem to contradict claims from researchers such as Truscott (2007) who have maintained that error correction is not helpful for improving the grammatical accuracy of L2 writing. The positive results of this study are largely attributed to the innovative methodology for teaching and learning L2 writing that emphasizes linguistic accuracy rather than restricting instruction and learning to other dimensions of writing such as rhetorical competence. The limitations and pedagogical implications of this study are also examined.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Written Corrective Feedback (WCF), Error Correction (EC), L2 Writing, Grammar Instruction, English as a Second Language (ESL)