First Advisor

Stephen Reder

Date of Publication

Spring 6-21-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




English language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers -- Evaluation, English language -- Composition and exercises -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers -- Evaluation, Second language acquisition -- Research



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 108 pages)


This study centered on the expectations of a non-native English-speaking undergraduate student and her teacher in a general education course at Portland State University during winter term 2012. This was a qualitative case study, where I collected data throughout the duration of the course by means of interviews, classroom observations, and written assignment sheet data. I triangulated verbal data from interview transcripts from the two participants, along with data from the observation notes and the assignment sheets in order to gain a better understanding of the expectations each participant had about writing assignments.

Data from four sources were collected and analyzed: interview transcripts, assignment sheets, the course syllabus, and classroom observation notes. Interview transcripts were the primary source of data, and were triangulated with the other abovementioned data sources.

The themes that emerged from verbal interview data were categorized and then subcategorized according to theme. The first category that emerged was Assignment Expectations. This was subcategorized into: Summarize, Examples, Reflect, Critical Thinking, and Theory Application. The second category was Evaluation, which was comprised of the themes Grading and Rubric. The third category that emerged was Student Interaction With Assignment, in which six subcategories emerged: Process, Experience, Time, Reading, Preparation, Understanding, and ESL. Lastly, the category background emerged, which contained the subcategories History and Background.

The findings of this study showed that due to the student's extensive background with various academic writing assignments prior to entering the course, she had similar expectations of specific assignment sheet attributes as the teacher. However, there were more salient differences in expectations between the teacher and the student in terms of how the student interacted with the assignment at the individual level. Likewise, expectations of assessment illustrated the murky nature of evaluation, even in a situation where the student had had extensive experience with academic writing assessment in the past.


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