Search WAC@CUHK :

YOU ARE HERE: Portal > Professors Main Page > What is WAC

Aims and Objectives of WAC@CUHK

The aims and objectives of the WAC programme at CUHK are to improve students’ proficiency in written English and their thinking and reasoning skills, by

(a) encouraging teachers in all disciplines to give more writing assignments;

(b) providing writing tutors to give feedback to students.


WAC provides feedback on early drafts to improve the final versions handed in for marking. Research has shown that most students ignore feedback on already-graded papers because they are mainly interested in the grade.

 WAC’s approach is based on ‘process writing’, which requires:

(a) pre-writing exercises, including assignment planning;

(b) multiple drafts of papers, to improve structure and presentation;

(c) student ‘peer review’ of their own classmates’ written drafts, to check and improve intelligibility and flow of argument;

(d) face-to-face meetings between WAC tutors and students to whom they give feedback on written drafts;

(e) teacher feedback on students’ drafts.

WAC prefers its affiliated courses to include at least three of these five features.


WAC does not focus on grammar when providing feedback on papers. Why not?

Research indicates that even the most intensive and systematic feedback on grammar produces hardly any improvement in subsequent writing. However, repeated grammatical errors that cause irritation to the reader (such as frequent errors in subject-verb agreement, tenses, prepositions) are dealt with in marginal comments. WAC deals with papers that have numerous grammatical errors on every page by correcting the errors on the first two pages and asking the student to correct the rest.


WAC instructs its tutors to provide feedback on student writing as follows:

      1. Read the entire paper through at least once without providing any feedback.

      2. Read the paper again, paying attention to the most important issue of content and organization.

      3. In an endnote, address the major points clearly without attempting to address every single problem in the paper. Focus on the most important issues.

      4. Go back and add marginal comments.

These procedures require time. Students must therefore submit their work to WAC in good time, otherwise WAC cannot provide adequate feedback.


What is WAC?  |  History of WAC in Hong Kong  |  Resources  |  Writing Tips  |  Site Map  |  Contact us

Homepage of WAC Program - The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Copyright (C) 2004, all rights reserved.