This presentation summarizes two branches of research on SHL learners’ writing. The first describes their writing behaviors in English and Spanish, including time allocation for planning, execution, and monitoring; revision; accuracy; and fluency. We compared writing behaviors across languages (Elola and Mikulski, 2013; Mikulski and Elola, 2011) and with their SFL classmates (Elola and Mikulski, 2016). Twelve SHL learners and six SFL learners in a third-year Spanish class responded to prompts in Spanish and English while screen-capture software recorded their behaviors. SHL learners spent significantly more time planning between sentences in their Spanish responses but demonstrated more fluency and accuracy when writing in English. Compared to their SFL counterparts, SHL learners wrote more fluently and accurately and devoted more time to Spanish inter-sentential planning. When writing in Spanish, SHL learners performed more meaning revisions and fewer surface revisions than their SFL peers. In all, some SHL writing behaviors appear to transfer across languages, and further research may identify strategies to foster additional transfer of successful writing behaviors.
The second branch of research is a nationwide survey of 96 SHL learners that included items about how they perceived feedback (Mikulski, Elola, Padial, and Berry, 2019). Learners reported that written comments, correction codes, circles/underlines, and correct forms were forms of feedback that they frequently received. For every component of their compositions (e.g., organization/paragraphing, range of vocabulary), they described the feedback they received as useful and comprehensible. Although more research is needed, these findings suggest that several effective feedback practices are already in place.