CFP Automated Writing Evaluation in Language Teaching: Theory, Development, and Application

Call for Papers

Special Issue: CALICO Journal 33.1, 2016
Guest editors: Volker Hegelheimer, Ahmet Dursun, Zhi Li, Iowa State University

Automated Writing Evaluation in Language Teaching: Theory, Development, and Application

The first automated writing evaluation (AWE) software for assessment purposes dates back to the 1960s (Project Essay Grade, Page Ellis). Rapid advances in the fields of artificial intelligence and natural language processing in the last few decades have led to the development of more powerful scoring engines, such as e-rater developed by ETS and IntelliMetric by Vantage Learning. Recent years have seen the application of scoring engines expand to language learning and teaching purposes. Likewise, much open-source and commercial AWE software has been released for use in the language learning (L2) classroom.

Opinions on the utility of AWE tools and their potential effects on educational practices vary, as shown by two frequently-cited books on AWE: Ericsson and Haswell (2006) and Shermis and Burstein (2013).  While many AWE tools are impressive in terms of scoring reliability, the use of AWE for assessment purposes in writing classrooms has seen fierce discussion and opposition, as articulated in the 2004 position statement of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). More studies are needed to evaluate AWE tools in classrooms. This special issue will bring together a variety of studies related to AWE in the context of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL). The issue will cover conceptual and empirical research on AWE tool development, AWE tool classroom implementation, and resulting pedagogical implications.  It will thus be of interest to AWE designers and developers, applied-linguistics researchers, and language teachers and practitioners. With an emphasis on AWE development for classroom use and its implementation, this issue will be a good complement to existing books on AWE, such as Ericsson & Haswell (2006) and Shermis & Burstein (2013).

Research articles that include a theoretical discussion and/or empirical research on the promise, challenges, and issues related to the development, implementation, or evaluation of AWE tools are invited.  These articles may investigate how AWE tools provide L2 learners, language teachers, and computational linguists with opportunities and challenges to:

* promote writing proficiency development
* encourage learner autonomy
* support pedagogical practices
* incorporate theories of Second Language Acquisition
* integrate L2 writing curricula
* develop theory-based AWE tools

By bringing together a variety of researchers and practitioners who have employed qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-method methodologies in researching different AWE tools across different contexts and genres, this Special Issue will raise the awareness of researchers and practitioners regarding the use of AWE tools as part of classroom instruction. This issue is timely as new commercial and academic AWE tools are being used or introduced. The papers in this issue can generate both valuable guidance for implementation and also offer suggestions for needed research on the use of AWE tools as potential language learning technologies.

It is our hope that this Special Issue will stimulate lively discussion about (1)  how to approach the theory-based design and use of different AWE tools in order to best address the needs of L2 learners in different contexts, (2) whether or not to integrate AWE tools into the L2 writing curriculum and use these tools as part of classroom instruction, and (3) how to effectively coordinate a variety of existing technologies in light of learner variables, such as self-regulated
learning, motivation, and learner autonomy.

In a wider sense, this Special Issue will illustrate how developers design and create AWE tools, how instructors implement these tools in their classes, and how learners use them to improve their L2 writing skills. We will thus de-mystify the development of AWE tools for pedagogical purposes and shed light on best practices for teaching L2 writing with AWE tools.

Please send inquiries and abstracts to Volker Hegelheimer ( before 1st August 2014. Please list CALICO Journal Special Issue in the subject line of your email. For the submission of the manuscript, follow the online submission process and refer to the Author Guidelines of CJ. During the submission process, select ‘Special Issue AWE’ as the section.


First Call for Papers                                                 1 June  2014
Deadline for submission of abstracts                1 August 2014
Notification of contributors                                   1 September 2014
First draft of papers to be submitted                  1 January 2015
Returned to authors for changes                          15 March 2015
Second draft of papers to be submitted             15 June 2015
Returned to authors for final changes                1 September 2015
Special Issue to be published                              February 2016

Thanks to Mathias Schulze