With the international growth of English-medium education, tertiary institutions are increasingly providing academic support services to L2 students, and thus, the number of writing centers working with L2 student writers has also increased. Writing center practices originated in L1 English educational contexts and their appropriateness for L2 English writers requires examination. This study investigated the effect of writing center consultations on the essay writing skills of L1 Arabic foundation level students at an English-medium university in the Gulf region. Analysis was based on quantitative measures of writing ability of two distinct groups of students: an experimental group who participated in tutoring sessions at the university’s writing center and a control group who did not. Findings indicated that students who participated in writing center consultations scored significantly higher in overall essay writing scores, as well as in two aspects of writing: task fulfilment (that is ideas) and text organization/coherence. These findings contribute to a limited bank of similar empirical studies on effectiveness of writing center sessions on students’ essay writing ability. They also support the case for the expansion of writing center work beyond the domains of predominantly L1 English academic communities.
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