SUPPORTING POST-GRADUATE STUDENTS WRITING SKILLS DEVELOPMENT WITH THE ONLINE MACHINE LEARNING TOOL: WRITE & IMPROVE
The current paper intends to describe the practice and analyze the results of using the website Write & Improve as an additional extra-class tool of developing writing skills in the course of preparation for the FCE exam for post-graduate students. The study has proven the hypothesis that the proposed algorithm for working with the service Write & Improve is effective for teaching FCE Writing for post-graduate students, and provided the experimental research of learners’ progress. Theoretical (analysis and synthesis), empirical (observation, testing, conducting pedagogical experiment) and statistical (calculating the Mean and the Standard Deviation) methods were used to achieve the stated aim. A significant difference was observed in the experimental group of 32 Kharkiv post-graduate university students where the experiment was carried out in 2017/2018 academic year. The obtained results of the experimental research demonstrate post-graduate students’ progress in the FCE Writing Test and can be regarded as the evidence that the service Write & Improve does have a positive impact on mastering post-graduate students’ writing skills. Furthermore, comparing the test results according to 5-band scale in four different criteria (Content, Communicative Achievement, Organization, Language) at the different stages of the course allowed to measure the development rate of the checked English writing skills. The resulting data confirmed the improvement in post-graduate students’ performance in all the criteria of Writing on average by 36.1%; the most significant progress has been in Language (vocabulary and grammar aspects) with the average increase from 3.0 to 4.5 scores (50 %) whereas the least advance to be claimed is in Communicative Achievement with the results ranging from 2.8 to 3.6 (28.6%); it proves the substantial increase. Provided that Write & Improve is implemented systematically with a careful consideration of post-graduate students’ problems and needs, the application of it can be said to have the obvious correlation with post-graduate students’ progress. The authors’ experience is significant in Ukrainian learning context as it proves the effectiveness of using innovative online instruments to teach English Writing to post-graduate students who aim to pass FCE exam.
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