Publication Date

Fall 2019


teacher feedback, writing in first-year composition, students’ preferences, students’ orientation


This study explores the perceptions of first-year composition (FYC) students toward written teacher feedback and compares the preferences of L1 English and international ESL writers. We used an online questionnaire to collect both quantitative and qualitative data. The first part of the questionnaire consists of 43 Likert items regarding teacher feedback in the context of a selected argumentative essay, and the second part consists of two open-ended questions regarding students’ opinions on teacher feedback. A total of 345 FYC students participated in the study. Our results show that both L1 and ESL writers prefer feedback that offers directions for improvement rather than general comments regarding errors in the writing, that both groups have an aversion to comments that offer no suggestions, that ESL writers are more enthusiastic about sentence-level feedback than L1 writers, and that terms like “constructive criticism” are largely absent from the lexicon of ESL writers. More broadly, L1 writers are more oriented toward how instructors provide feedback while the ESL writers are more oriented toward the text itself. Ultimately, these findings are meant to help FYC instructors work in classrooms that contain both L1 and ESL writers.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.