Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Tony Silva

Committee Member 1

Margie Berns

Committee Member 2

David A Sears

Committee Member 3

Shelley Staples


How can feedback become a productive resource for students? Much of the research investigating the role of feedback in second language (L2) writing has set out to find an answer to this question. Based on the principle that feedback is given to students as a means of providing useful information to improve their writing (Bitchener, 2008, 2009; Hanaoka & Izumi, 2012), the discussion on feedback includes the idea that learners will transfer knowledge from feedback to improve subsequent writing (Hyland, 1998; Storch & Wigglesworth, 2010). When learners apply feedback to their subsequent writing, they are using collected knowledge, which is the essence of learning transfer (Schwartz, Bransford, & Sears, 2005). Unfortunately, no method of writing feedback has been deemed the frontrunner for improving learner texts (Ferris & Roberts, 2001; Hyland & Hyland, 2006; Storch & Wigglesworth, 2010) or for helping learners transfer writing knowledge across writing situations (James, 2006a,b, 2008, 2009, 2010). While this outlook may seem bleak for writing instructors, recent research provides evidence for presenting learners with expert models as a fruitful way of offering feedback.