The difficulties faced by students in producing free-writing: A study at STKIP Bina Bangsa Getsempena

Rahmi Fhonna


Writing is a means of communication to convey meaning as well as a medium for self-expression and self assessment and also for teacher-assessment. In the tertiary context, writing even has more complex meanings because of its social context and epistemological issues of knowledge. This study was conducted to identify errors and mistakes made in free-writing by students at STKIP Bina Bangsa Getsempena and to investigate the reasons they faced numerous difficulties in producing good free-writing as well as to investigate the students’ opinions towards the activity of writing in general and also the comments of their lecturers on their free-writing assignments. 18 free-writing assignments were collected from 18 students as samples for this study. A questionnaire was also distributed to strengthen the data obtained from the writings. The written assignments were then analyzed by using the form feedback framework, in terms of conventional grammatical errors, adapted from Ashwell (2000). The findings showed 6 categories of grammar that were often misused in the students’ free-writing, namely agreement/verb-tense, spelling, articles/determiners/plurals, lexical choice, pronoun and preposition/collocation. The results from the questionnaires revealed that the main obstacles faced by the students in producing free-writing were their lack of ideas/difficulties in organizing ideas as well as their problems with grammar.


Free-writing; Form feedback; Grammatical errors; Writing implication

Full Text:



Anas, S. (2008). Pengantar statistika pendidikan. Jakarta: Raja Grafindo Persada.

Ashwell, T. (2000). Patterns of teacher response to student writing in a Multiple- Draft composition classroom: Is content feedback followed by form feedback the best method? Journal of Second Language Writing, 9(3): 227-257.

Brown, G. T. L. (2010). The validity of examination essays in higher education: Issues and responses. Higher Education Quarterly, 64(3): 276-291.

Cho, Y. (2003). Assessing writing: Are we bound by only one method? Assessing Writing, 8(3), 165-191.

Dörnyei, Z. (2003). Questionnaires in second language research: Construction, administration, and processing. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Ears, B. (2004). The practice of social research. Wardsworth: Thomson Learning.

Fregeau, L. A. (1999). Preparing ESL students for college writing: Two case studies. The Internet TESL journal, 5(10). Retrieved on October 13, 2013 from

Harmer, J. (2004). How to teach writing. England: Longman.

Henderson, E., & Moran, K. M. (2010). The Empowered Writer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Huot, B. (2002). Toward a new discourse of assessment for the college writing classroom. College English, 65(2): 163-180.

Lea, M. R., & Street, B. V. (1998). Student writing in higher education: An academic literacies approach. Studies in Higher Education, 23 (2): 157-170.

Mickan, P. (2003a). ‘What’s your score?’ An investigation into language descriptors for written performance. In L. Hyam (Eds). International English Language Testing System Research Reports. (pp. 125-157). Canberra: IELTS Australia.

Oshima, A., & Hogue, N. (2007). Introduction to academic writing. New York: Longman.

Richards, J.C., & Renandya, W.A. (2006). Methodology in language teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Schleppegrell, M. J. (2004). Technical writing in a second language: The role of grammatical metaphor. In Ravelli, L. J., & Ellis, R. A. (Eds). Analyzing academic writing: contextualized framework. (pp. 172-189). London: Continuum.

Segal, M. K., & Pavlik, C. (1996). A writing process book. USA: The Mcgraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Shields, M. (2010). Essay writing: A student’s guide. London: SAGE Publications. Waters, M., & Waters, A. (1995). Study tasks in English. UK: Cambridge University Press.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Print ISSN: 2355-2794, Online ISSN: 2461-0275

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.