Developing and demonstrating English proficiency is a critical skill for non-native English speakers (NNESs) who wish to study in American universities. Unlike their native English speaker (NES) counterparts, NNES students who apply for university admission are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English via tests, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), that measure an NNES's ability to understand, speak, read, and write English. Although the number of students who have attained those minimum scores is large, there is a large population of adult NNESs enrolled in intensive English programs (IEPs) that are designed to help them improve their proficiency in English and again admission into mainstream university courses. Given that many university instructors require the submission of written work that demonstrates students' understanding of course content, perhaps the most important academic skill developed in IEPs is writing. Furthermore, the lack of attention given to addressing grammatical errors at the tertiary level highlights IEP instructors' need for effective and efficient methods of addressing grammatical errors in NNES writing. The present quantitative study used two experimental designs, a pretest-posttest design and a posttest-only design with proxy pretest (Campbell & Stanley, 1963), to investigate the efficacy of two types of indirect corrective feedback (CF) for improving adult, IEP-enrolled, intermediate level NNES writers' (participants) grammatical accuracy in academic papers. Grammatical accuracy for this study was measured by counting the number of errors participants committed when using English definite and indefinite articles in academic papers. The independent variable for this study was the type of CF participants were randomly selected to receive – either screencast corrective feedback (SCF) or written corrective feedback (WCF). The dependent variable, which measured the effect of the CF given, was the number of errors participants made with English definite and indefinite articles on three compositions completed to satisfy the requirements of their IEP writing class. The results of the current research demonstrated that participants made similar gains in grammatical accuracy when using CF to revise descriptive compositions. These results are in keeping with the results of previous studies that showed the usefulness of CF for improving grammatical accuracy on revised compositions (Bitchener, 2008, Bitchener & Knoch, 2008, 2009a, 2009b, 2010a). However, the improvement observed on the revised descriptive compositions did not transfer to new classification essays, regardless of the type of CF participants received. Participants' lack of grammatical accuracy on new compositions of a different genre effectively illustrated the difficulty English articles pose for NNESs when writing and the need for multiple exposures to CF and writing practice to develop NNESs' ability to consistently use English articles accurately. The main implication of the present study lies in the recommendation of the provision of CF to NNES students and systematic instruction about how to use CF received in order to allow NNESs to become more self-sufficient learners and writers of English.


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Graduation Date





Nutta, Joyce


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program

Education; Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages









Release Date


Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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Education Commons