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Understanding the Development of Student Feedback Literacy in the L2 Writing Classroom

Project Scheme:
General Research Fund
Project Year:
Project Leader:
Dr MAK, Wing Wah Pauline
(Department of English Language Education)
Understanding the Development of Student Feedback Literacy in the L2 Writing Classroom

Feedback lies at the heart of teaching and learning and is a catalyst to the development of student learning. Central to the efficacy of feedback is “student feedback literacy,” defined as students’ understanding, capacity and the dispositions needed to make sense of feedback information and use it to enhance their learning.

In second language (L2) writing contexts, such as China and Hong Kong, one-shot writing, which compresses the writing process into a single draft, is prevalent. Moreover, the conventional feedback practice, which features one-way teacher-directed transmission, appears to be the main approach. Self and peer assessment, where learners take control of their learning and assessment, are not commonly carried out. The present practices thus limit opportunities for students to develop their evaluative capacities to use feedback productively, which hinders the development of student feedback literacy. Against this backdrop, there is a need for more research on how, and to what extent students develop their feedback literacy in their instructional contexts, and how such development improves their writing. Such information is of considerable significance as feedback loses its purpose if it does not fulfil its role in promoting student learning.


Despite being acknowledged as significant, empirical research on student feedback literacy, especially in L2 writing, is underexplored. Adopting a case study design spanning one academic year, the proposed study will be conducted in 6 Primary 5 classes in two primary schools in Hong Kong, involving all teachers and students from the same grade in each school. The study will draw on multiple data sources, including individual interviews with principals, English Department Heads, teachers, and students, stimulated recall with students, classroom observations, writing portfolio documents, students’ writing portfolios and students’ drafts with feedback.


Accordingly, the proposed project has three aims: 1) examine the development of elementary students’ feedback literacy through the use of writing portfolios; 2) investigate how, and to what extent such development may influence text revisions and writing improvement; and 3) investigate the factors influencing the development of student feedback literacy in elementary writing classrooms.


The proposed research will contribute to the limited literature on the development of student feedback literacy with the potential to offer pedagogical implications for enhancing students’ feedback literacy, which in turn will encourage greater learner agency and improvement in writing. The findings will be of interest to teacher educators, school leaders, researchers, and teachers in Hong Kong and educational settings worldwide.