2015 Action Research in ELICOS Program


Research theme

In keeping with the skills theme of the past three years the focus for the 2015 program was teaching, learning and assessing writing. In particular, the program aimed to identify effective classroom interaction practices that enhance and integrate writing skills development and take into account the assessment of learner progress and/or achievement.

Research theme subtopics

The following topics were offered as suggestions  and teachers were encouraged to submit proposals that examined different issues related to teaching, learning and assessing writing through action research. 

Teaching writing
• exploring students’ cultural experiences/attitudes in their writing development
• analysing students’ needs in writing different genres/texts eg ‘instant’ writing cf planned and drafted texts
• addressing needs for writing in different contexts eg personal, academic, professional
• developing specific writing skills (eg genre/discourse awareness, language structure, argumentation, critical analysis, expressing ‘voice’)
• exploring the nature of students’ writing processes
• developing students’ awareness of cognitive and metacognitive writing strategies
• selecting and designing tasks/materials/resources for writing development
• using technology to enhance writing developmentTeaching writing

• introducing self-reflective tasks for writing
• exploring writing as it relates to other skills and modalities
• redeveloping an existing writing course

Learning writing
• developing self-awareness of individual writing needs
• enhancing autonomy in writing
• exploring students’ approaches to researching (e.g consulting sources, literature) for writing academic texts

• enhancing specific skills for writing (e.g. appropriate grammar, structure, argumentation, critical analysis)

• developing metacognitive awareness of strategies for writing development
• self-assessing of writing inside/outside the classroom
• identifying personal goals for monitoring writing progress
• using technology to enhance writing skills

Providing feedback and assessing writing
• developing learning-oriented (formative) writing assessment
• giving corrective feedback in writing
• developing rubrics for formative or summative writing assessment
• introducing peer- and/or self-assessment in writing
• preparing students for writing tests/assessments
• integrating writing assessment tasks into the syllabus
• exploring ways to balance exam preparation with general writing development
• integrating assessment tasks (speaking to writing or reading to writing)

Participants and Projects


Standing (L-R) Michelle Ocriciano, Jackson Howard, Min Jung Jang, Elizabeth Furst, Sally Crane, Christa Snyman, Sonja Sasse, Bianka Malecka, Sylvia Cher, James Heath

Seated (L-R) Diana Dunlop, Juliana Xhafer, Anne Burns, Aparna Jacob


Diana Dunlop & Juliana Xhafer   UTS INSEARCH, NSW   Developing students’ 
skills of synthesis writing 
for academic purposes    
Bianka Malecka & James Heath  UNSW Institute of Languages, NSW  Exploring the effects of 
e-portfolios on students’ writing skills
Elizabeth Furst & Sally Crane  University of Tasmania, TAS  Development of research skills and research capability amongst EAP students
Sylvia Cher & Sonja-Lina Sasse  Deakin University English Language Institute (DUELI), VIC  Systematic teaching of academic vocabulary including the use of technology
Jackson Howard &  Min Jung Jang  University of Western Sydney College, NSW

Using a ‘feed- forward’ approach with technology to progress students’ writing

Michelle Ocriciano    Kaplan International College, SA The influence of gamification on learning IELTS writing skills
Christa Snyman    Curtin English, Curtin University, WA Guided Writing Task (GWT) as a tool to scaffold learners' writing


Participants can click here to log into the Action Research in ELICOS Program wiki.




Click here for a PDF of a summary of the 2015 projects. Full reports will be published by Cambridge English in June 2016 as Research Notes 64.

For more information about this program please contact Aparna Jacob (02) 9264 4700.