The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

James Robinson

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

grammar error correction, writing, focused feedback, unfocused feedback, student attitudes, college, ESOL, ESL, EAP


College students in an English as a Second Language (ESOL) advanced writing and grammar course value feedback on their writing. However, grammar feedback does not tend to lead to consistent application as demonstrated by correct grammar usage in their written work. This classroom-based research study examined the students’ attitudes regarding focused and unfocused written corrective feedback (WCF) and whether their attitudes were affected by receiving focused or unfocused feedback.

Twenty-two students participated in this study. The students were in two sections of an advanced writing and grammar class. Part of the students in each section received focused feedback and part received unfocused feedback. All student participants completed a pre-task questionnaire regarding their attitude toward WCF, a writing task, and a post-task questionnaire identical to the pre-task questionnaire.

While the results did not show a strong preference for focused or unfocused feedback, there were two clear findings: (a) students want and appreciate feedback whether it is focused or unfocused and (b) students tended to treat all grammar mistakes of equal importance, demonstrating a need to help students notice which types of mistakes are the most important.


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