Vol 2 No 1 (2016)

Published: 2016-04-01

Editorial Section

Editor’s Introduction

Dana R Ferris

This article introduces the first issue of the second volume of Journal of Response to Writing.

Featured Articles

Papers are never finished, just abandoned: The role of written teacher comments in the revision process

M. Sidury Christiansen, Joel Bloch

The debate over the efficacy of written teacher comments has raised a variety of questions for consideration by both researchers and practitioners. Teachers can use written comments, in Vygotsky’s (1978) framework, to scaffold the development of student writing. By reflecting on their own commenting process, a teacher can assess and modify their comments as well as the method by which the comments are delivered. This study examines how four second language (L2) students responded to a series of comments to three papers. The results show that students overwhelmingly followed the strategy training on how to respond to teacher’s comments given during class; however, these changes did not always result in a positive revision. While students believed to have followed the teacher’s suggestions, they did not always pay attention to the paper as a whole, which resulted in problems with coherence or grammar, and even instances of plagiarism. Results indicate that strategy training does not guarantee an outcome of successful revision. This suggests that revision will be more effective for paper development if understood as part of the creative process of writing than mere correction of errors. Based on these results, several proposals are made for modifying the comment process.

Teaching Articles

Grammar Agreements: Crafting a More Finely-Tuned Approach to Corrective Feedback

Ryan P. Shepherd, Katherine Daily O'Meara, Sarah Elizabeth Snyder

This article introduces the idea of grammar agreement as a way to offer a more “finely tuned approach” to grammar feedback in the L2 classroom (Ferris, Liu, Sinha, & Senna, p. 307). These agreements offer students options for how the teacher will respond to writing done in their first-year composition classes. The authors offer suggestions for both why grammar agreements are a useful tool in the L2 writing classroom (and possibly beyond) and how to implement grammar agreements effectively

Promoting Metacognitive Thought through Response to Low-Stakes Writing

Jenae Druckman Cohn, Mary Stewart

Metacognition is a typical learning outcome in composition courses, but providing feedback on low-stakes reflective writing and assessing high-stakes reflective writing are complex tasks that warrant more attention in the literature. Consequently, this article explores how the assignment of and response to low-stakes reflective writing can provide effective scaffolding to higher-stakes reflective writing tasks. We present a case study of one instructor’s experience with responding to her first-year composition student’s low-stakes reflective writing and examine the student’s development of metacognitive skills throughout the course. Ultimately, we call for more research on responding to reflective writing that will ensure the valid and reliable assessment of metacognition in composition courses.  

Split Personalities: Understanding the Responder Identity in College Composition

Anthony Edward Edgington

For decades, researchers and teacher in composition have wrestled with how to respond to student writing.  Part of this discussion has focused on what role teachers should assume when reading and responding to texts.  From these discussions, different roles have emerged, including the gatekeeper, the critic, the facilitator, the coach, and the judge, among others.  While some have argued that the use of response identities helps teachers focus their responses while offering students an audience for their texts, others are more wary of what influence these roles may have on the student-teacher relationship and teacher comments.


This article explores the history of response identities, including research on both the positive and negative outcomes from their use.  It then offers a new perspective of response as an intellectual endeavor, emphasizing both the labor that goes into response along with the rewards that both students and teachers can receive from the process.  Ideas of how to move toward this view of response are offered.