The use of exemplars in English writing classrooms: from theory to practice

Sin Wang Chong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Recent literature on the use of exemplars in the context of higher education has shown that exemplar-based instruction is implemented in various disciplines; nevertheless, how exemplar-based instruction can be implemented in English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) writing classrooms in higher education institutions remains under-explored. In this connection, this article reports on a textbook development project which adopts an exemplar-based instruction approach to be used by university English instructors to prepare students for IELTS writing (academic module). The goal of the textbook is to cultivate students’ understanding of the assessment standards of the two IELTS writing tasks through the design and use of exemplar-based dialogic and reflective activities. In this article, theoretical underpinnings of the use of exemplars, namely tacit knowledge, assessment as learning and dialogic feedback, will first be discussed in detail. Then, an overview of an ongoing project which aims to develop an exemplar-based IELTS writing textbook will be given. The last section of this article suggests practical strategies for ESL writing teachers who are interested in using exemplars to develop students’ understanding of assessment standards.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)748-763
JournalAssessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
Issue number5
Early online date20 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 04 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • English as a second language writing
  • exemplar-based instruction
  • higher education
  • use of exemplars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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