⬅ Back to Agenda

To Trust or Not to Trust? An Investigation into Perceived Feedback Sources in Second Language Writing

Chian-Wen Kao1, Barry Lee Reynolds2
1Chihlee University of Technology, New Taipei City, Taiwan. 2University of Macau, Taipa, Macao


Researchers and practitioners have paid close attention to automated writing evaluation (AWE) software because it may shorten the time needed to give second language (L2) students written corrective feedback on their writing. Despite the fact that more practitioners are utilizing AWE affordances, research has shown that L2 writers may still have doubts about the tool’s value as a source of feedback compared to second language writing instructors. It is therefore worthwhile to investigate how the possible connection between student perception and writing outcomes are related to the source of writing feedback since perception influences student writer behavior. This is crucial in situations where high stakes timed writing is the most common sort of writing that L2 writers are required to do. Using a quasi-experimental design, we investigated the effects that perceived feedback source had on two groups of high-intermediate second language writers enrolled in academic reading and writing courses in Northern Taiwan: perceived teacher feedback group (n = 61) and perceived AWE feedback group (n = 60). With the exception of trusting that feedback exclusively came from the teacher or AWE software, both groups got the identical teaching and feedback for a period of 18 weeks. Results revealed that by the end of the course, the perceived AWE feedback group had significantly surpassed the perceived teacher feedback group in terms of their L2 writing performance. Additionally, the perceived AWE feedback group put more trust on the feedback on grammar rules and lexical choices than the perceived teacher feedback group, demonstrating the preference of high-intermediate L2 writers for specific feedback types offered by AWE software. These findings, along with others, show that judgments on AWE or teacher feedback should be dependent on the type of error.


written corrective feedback; trust in automation; automated writing evaluation; second language writing; perceptions

International Joint Conference of APLX, ETRA40, and TESPA 2023