Heritage Spanish Speakers’ Writing Development: Online vs. In-Person Peer-Tutoring Interventions


  • Claire Julia Lozano Macalester College
  • Agustina Carando University of California Davis




heritage spanish, peer-tutoring, academic writing, online tutoring, bilingual education


This article analyzes the writing development of heritage speakers (hs) of Spanish in an intermediate level composition course at the University of California, Davis. The data comprised 480 essays written by 80 students from two groups: one who received face-to-face peer tutoring before the covid-19 pandemic (Fall 2019), and one who received online tutoring during the pandemic (Fall 2020). These data were analyzed in terms of lexical richness as measured by (a) lexical density, (b) lexical sophistication, and (c) lexical variation in both in-person and online settings. Findings revealed that lexical density and lexical sophistication were similar in both groups. However, the online group had higher levels of lexical variation throughout their essays. We conclude that online tutoring is an effective alternative to face-to-face tutoring, showing no disadvantages in terms of students’ lexical richness and offering a significant advantage with respect to lexical variation. Finally, we offer suggestions for hs tutor training in an online setting.

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Author Biographies

Claire Julia Lozano, Macalester College

Visiting Assistant Professor, Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

Agustina Carando, University of California Davis

Assistant Professor, University of California Davis, California, usa.


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How to Cite

Lozano, C. J., & Carando, A. (2022). Heritage Spanish Speakers’ Writing Development: Online vs. In-Person Peer-Tutoring Interventions. Íkala, Revista De Lenguaje Y Cultura, 27(1), 49–65. https://doi.org/10.17533/udea.ikala.v27n1a03



Empirical Studies


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