Writing feedback as an exclusionary practice in higher education

Grace Chu-Lin Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


This ethnographic research probes into feedback on academic writing received by Taiwanese students in Australian higher education institutions, and examines whether the feedback received helped students to participate in the written discourse of academic communities. Academic writing dominates the academic life of students in Australia and is the key measure of their academic performance. This can be problematic for international students who speak English as an additional language and who are expected to acquire academic literacies in English 'by doing'. As a social practice, academic writing depends on participation in dialogue for students to be included in the community of academia. However, the findings show that few participants received any useful feedback. Some assignments were never returned; in other cases, the hand-written feedback was illegible, and often included only overly general comments that puzzled the participants. As a result, the learning process came to an end once the students handed in their assignments; feedback failed to promote further learning related to content, and particularly to academic writing. The article highlights the few instances where participants received helpful feedback that was accessible and constructive, and which can be considered best practice for the promotion of academic literacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-275
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Review of Applied Linguistics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Academic writing
  • Higher education
  • Overseas students
  • Writing feedback

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