Responding to Student Writing Using an AWE System

Responding to Student Writing Using an AWE System

Huang Shu, Chengdu University of Information Technology, China

Responding to student writing is one of the most important jobs of an L2 writing teacher. It provides excellent opportunities for the teacher to teach and re-teach language features that students have not fully acquired, to guide students in making their text more coherent and eloquent, etc.

However, responding to students’ written work can take up a lot of time especially when the teacher adopts a process writing pedagogy where students work on multiple drafts before they submit their final essay. Fortunately, teachers can turn to technology to help ease their marking burden.

There are now a number of automated essay evaluating tools that can be used to do an initial check of students’ writing. One such tool, which is quite popular in China, is Pigaiwang ( Pigaiwang offers, among others, grammar and spelling feedback. Students submit their work online and receive immediate language feedback.

The feedback is not 100% appropriate as the programme may leave some language mistakes uncorrected, and sometimes, it may correct already correct language features. Because of this, it is recommended that teachers train the students beforehand in how to use and interpret the automated feedback and also warn them of some of the potential problems. Teachers should also tell students to use it as a screening tool to help them check their own work before their final submission.

1. Students write their first draft
2. They submit their first draft to Pigaiwang (or any other AWE system)
3. They check the corrections provided by the system. This is best done by asking students to work in small groups.
4. They revise their first draft and submit the second draft to the teacher for further feedback.

More links on Error Correction

Further Reading

Bai, L., and G. Hu. 2017. “In the Face of Fallible AWE Feedback: How Do Students Respond?” Educational Psychology 37 (1): 67–81.

Chen, C. F. E., and W. Y. E. Cheng. 2008. “Beyond the Design of Automated Writing Evaluation: Pedagogical Practices and Perceived Learning Effectiveness in EFL Writing Classes.” Language Learning & Technology 12 (2): 94–112.

Huang, S., & Renandya, W. A. (2018). Exploring the integration of automated feedback among lower-proficiency EFL learners. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 1-12.


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