Effects of Feedback Types on Writing Accuracy, Fluency, and Complexity

  • Received : 20111000
  • Published : 2011.12.30


This paper investigates how two different modes of feedback (selective vs. comprehensive) affect selected students' writing development in terms of three different types of measurement (accuracy, fluency, and complexity). 139 university students participated in the study, and 278 writing samples were analyzed. The results of the study indicate that participants who received selective feedback wrote more accurately and fluently than their counterparts. However, in terms of complexity, both selective and comprehensive groups showed no sign of improvement in semester-based investigations. The results of this study support Skehan's (2009) theory of trade-off effects, suggesting that 'natural' tension exists between accuracy and complexity when resources are limited. Moreover, this finding contrasts with the theory of Cognition Hypothesis, which proposes that task complexity will be associated with increases in complexity and accuracy. In the study, selected participants (N=21) strongly nominated their error sources as unfamiliarity toward using key words, usage, transition, and sentence types. This study not only contributes to the accumulation of our current knowledge in the related area of theory, but offers educational implications for those who are dealing with intermediate-level students when deciding what particular teaching content should constitute a priority within a limited instructional period.