Potential Impact of Automated Writing Evaluation (AWE) on EFL Learners’ Writing Accuracy: Learners’ Attitudes in Focus
Keywords:Automated Writing Evaluation, l2 writing, syntactic accuracy
The present study aimed to examine the potential impacts of Automated Writing Evaluation (AWE) on Iranian English as Foreign Language (EFL) learners’ writing accuracy. Another study objective was to identify the learners’ attitudes toward using AWE in English classes. As such, 50 female EFL students at the intermediate level of language proficiency were chosen via convenience sampling to participate in the present study. They were then randomly divided into two groups of Control Group (CG) and the Experimental Group (EG), each consisting of 25 learners. Before the treatment, a researcher-made writing composition pre-test was administered to both groups. Next, the learners in the EG received the treatment in which an AWE system was employed to check the learner’s written productions. Next, learners in the CG were exposed to the conventional pen-and-paper methods of English writing classes. Then, a writing composition post-test was administered. The performances of learners on pre and post-tests were scored based on accuracy in terms of syntactic errors. After administering the post-test, EG learners were asked to fill in a questionnaire on AWE.
Moreover, they were asked two questions in a semi-structured interview on their attitudes toward applying to the AWE program. The researcher recorded and later transcribed the learners’ answers for further analysis. The independent sample t-test revealed that Iranian EFL learners’ writing accuracy significantly improved after receiving AWE. Furthermore, the Chi-square test results, in conjunction with the interview results, showed that learners had positive attitudes toward AWE in writing classes. The study will have implications for the second language (L2) writing practices of EFL teachers and students.
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