Constructive Alignment and FocusedFormative Feedback on an L2 EnglishBeginner Undergraduate AcademicWriting Course

University essay from Malmö universitet/Fakulteten för lärande och samhälle (LS)

Abstract: Although academic writing skills are central in the core content of the Swedish nationalcurriculum for English, Swedish upper-secondary school pupils struggle withcomposing academic texts. Both international and national research have formulatedseveral models for effectively constructing ESL (English as a second language)academic writing modules. However, these models in the school are often notimplemented or misinterpreted in the Swedish school. Therefore, to find a best practiceexample that can be implemented in the English upper-secondary classroom, this studyinvestigates the research-based design of a beginner ESL academic writing course atMalmö University with focus on constructive alignment and instructor feedback. Thedata included three data sets: i) lectures and other course materials, ii) ten studentpapers across three drafts, 30 draft submissions in total, and iii) instructor feedback onthe first two drafts. All data was subjected to different types of content analysis. Afeedback classification system synthesized from previous research was specificallydeveloped for the data analysis of instructor feedback. The main findings were that theacademic writing course investigated was in-fact constructively aligned providing thestudents with qualitative academic writing instruction; therefore, it may arguably serveas a model for academic writing interventions also in the school. Furthermore, themulti-dimensional feedback classification system developed for this study may guideeducators’ reflection over their feedback practices.

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