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Feedback on Academic Essay Writing through pre-Emptive Hints: Moving Towards "Advice for Action"

Whitelock, Denise; Twiner, Alison; Richardson, John T. E.; Field, Debra and Pulman, Stephen (2015). Feedback on Academic Essay Writing through pre-Emptive Hints: Moving Towards "Advice for Action". European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning

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Abstract

This paper adopts an “advice for action” approach to feedback in educational practice: addressing how provision of “hints” to participants before they write academic essays can support their understanding and performance in essay-writing tasks. We explored differences in performance by type of hint, and whether there was a transfer of better performance in subsequent essays. Fifty participants were recruited, consisting of eight men and 42 women aged 18-80. Participants were assigned in rotation to four groups, and asked to write two essays. Groups 1 and 3 received hints before Essay 1, whilst Groups 2 and 4 received hints before Essay 2. Groups 1 and 2 received essential hints; Groups 3 and 4 received helpful hints. Essays were marked against set criteria. The results showed that an “advice for action” approach to essay-writing, in the form of hints, can significantly improve writers’ marks. Specifically higher marks were gained for the introduction, conclusion and use of evidence: critical components of “good” academic essays. As the hints given were content-free, this approach has the potential to instantly benefit tutors and students across subject domains and institutions and is informing the development of a technical system that can offer formative feedback as students draft essays.

Item Type: Article
ISSN: 1027-5207
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Supportive Automated Feedback for Short Essay Answers (H-10-028-DW)EP/J005959/1EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)
Not SetEP/J005231/1EPSRC
Extra Information: Special Issue Article
Academic Unit/School: Learning Teaching and Innovation (LTI) > Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
Learning Teaching and Innovation (LTI)
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 43207
Depositing User: Denise Whitelock
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2015 09:32
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2017 19:57
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/43207
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