Vol 6 No 2 (2020)

Published: 2021-01-08

Editorial Section

Editorial Introduction

Katherine Daily O'Meara


Introduction to Issue 6 Volume 2 of Journal of Response to Writing.

Featured Articles

Placing Peer Response at the Center of the Response Construct

Dan Melzer


This article reports on a large-scale study of peer and instructor response and student reflection on response. The corpus was collected via ePortfolios from first-year writing courses and courses across disciplines at 69 U.S. institutions of higher education. The following questions guided a qualitative analysis of the comments and reflections in the corpus: (1) What are the similarities and differences in the ways instructors and peers respond to college writing? (2) What perspectives do college students have on the feedback they receive on their writing from instructors and peers? Five themes emerged from a review of the research on peer and instructor response and the results of the analysis of the data: (1) Peer responders are more focused on global concerns than instructors, (2) Peer responders are less directive than instructors, (3) Peer responders offer more praise than instructors, (4) Students learn as much from reading their peers’ drafts as they do from the comments they receive from peer responders or the instructor, (5) Students saw peer responders as interested readers and instructors as judges. The findings support an argument for placing peer response at the center of the response construct, rather than thinking of peer response as merely a complement to instructor response.

How Mindsets Shape Response and Learning Transfer: A Case of Two Graduate Writers

Dr. Roger Lee Powell, Dr. Dana Lynn Driscoll


This article expands upon composition research on response, and psychological research on mindsets, to examine how Dweck’s theory of mindsets impact graduate writer’s ability to process teacher response, apply teacher response in revision, and ultimately, develop as learners and transfer knowledge from these experiences. We conduct this examination through in-depth case studies of two writers over a six-year period spanning undergraduate and graduate school, and include interviews, teacher response, and graduate student writing to develop thick descriptions of graduate writers’ experiences. We demonstrate how students’ mindsets intersect with processing/applying response offered in early graduate courses, which ultimately hinders or helps opportunities for learning transfer and writing development. The implications of this work apply to both how teachers respond to writing, and how they teach graduate students about processing and applying response.  

Student-led feedback on writing

Rachael Ruegg


Research suggests that learners’ engagement with the feedback process is important to foster learning, and it has been suggested that students have more autonomy in the feedback process by communicating their feedback preferences to the teacher or peers.  However, little is known about what kinds of feedback students request when given this autonomy.  Furthermore, it is unknown to what extent givers of feedback act in accordance with such feedback requests made by student writers when providing feedback.  The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the feedback requests made by Japanese university students to teacher and peer reviewers as well as the feedback received in response to the requests.  It was found that students requested feedback on content and the successful communication of ideas the most, followed by feedback on grammar and vocabulary, while feedback on organization and academic style were the least prioritized.  Requests made for feedback on content, grammar and academic style resulted in increased feedback on those areas, whereas feedback on other areas correlated weakly with requests made.

L2 Writers’ Experience with Peer Review in Mainstream First-year Writing

Megan M. Siczek


This article describes a qualitative inquiry into the peer review experience of second language (L2) international students enrolled in a mainstream first-year writing (FYW) course at a private university in the eastern United States. Data collection involved semistructured interviews with 10 L2 students at three points during the semester they were enrolled in the FYW course. Three themes were identified through inductive data analysis: (1) perception of self; (2) perception of peers; (3) perception of process. A discussion of the findings highlights the complex ways these themes overlap to deepen our understanding of peer review as a meaningful socioacademic activity in multilingual classroom settings.

Teaching Articles

A collaborative approach to supporting students with multimodal work in the composition classroom and the writing centre

Lucie Moussu, Christina Grant


Multimodality is recognized as a useful pedagogical tool, but it is often difficult to apply in real-life curricula. Further, expectations on educators and various campus units are increasingly complex and require nimble and innovative partnerships. In this article, Anne, a first-year composition instructor, and Laura, a writing center (WC) director, share their different but parallel paths to “going multimodal” for the first time. They show how they collaborated to teach, mentor, and respond to students’ diverse projects. First, Anne explains her rationale for replacing a traditional essay with a multimodal project and how she taught herself and her students about multimodal rhetoric with the help of two dedicated WC tutors. She also outlines how she gave students encouraging and robust feedback throughout their composing processes. Then Laura, her friend and WC director, shares her initial hesitancy about going multimodal and how she ultimately started preparing her tutors to respond to Anne’s students’ projects. The article concludes with Anne and Laura discussing the exciting synergy they experienced while working together--as well as the challenges they faced. For composition instructors, tutors, and WC directors interested in adopting multimodal assignments, this article provides ideas and suggestions for teaching, giving feedback, and mentoring.

The potential of flipped learning to prepare ESL students for peer review

Catherine E. Showalter, Ilka Kostka


Peer review is frequently used in both first language (L1) and second language (L2) writing courses to develop reading and writing skills and foster interaction and collaboration among students.  In order to maximize the benefits of peer review in the L2 classroom, however, students should be trained to give feedback to their peers (Lam, 2010; Rahimi, 2013; Rollinson, 2005).  In this article, we describe how we used a flipped learning approach to prepare undergraduate international students to conduct peer review in a university-level (English as a Second Language) ESL reading and writing course.  We begin by reviewing the literature on peer review with L2 writers.  We then describe how we used flipped learning to structure training both in and out of class across four course sections in the fall 2018 semester.  We conclude by offering reflections on this practice and recommendations for preparing students to conduct peer review effectively.

Book Reviews

Review of Classroom Writing Assessment and Feedback in L2 School Contexts

LeNora E Candee


The attachment is a review of Icy Lee's work Classroom Writing Assessment and Feedback in L2 School Contexts (2017). It contributes to discourse surrounding assessment and feedback in English L2 writing in the school context. With the increasing demands on school L2 English language learners, the expectations for writing competence are also becoming more complex. To foster learner critical-thinking and the improvement of learning and teaching, Lee makes a strong case for moving away from summative, assessment of learning (AoL) methods towards assessment for learning (AfL) and assessment as learning (AaL) practices.