Asynchronous forums in EAP: Assessment issues

Sara Kol*, Miriam Schcolnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper reports on a pilot and a subsequent study that focused on the assessment of student writing in asynchronous text-stimulated forum discussions. The study, which was conducted in advanced English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses, aimed at determining suitable assessment criteria for written academic discussions. In addition, the study tapped student attitudes toward forums, checked the effect of forum participation on student writing, and characterized the text-stimulated forum discussions. Based on a content analysis of the pilot data, the constructs of reflection and interaction were selected as assessment criteria to be evaluated in the main study. These criteria were found to be usable but insufficient for student assessment in the EAP courses. A questionnaire showed that the student attitudes were positive and that most students felt that their writing improved, even though an analysis of language complexity showed no significant improvement. A qualitative analysis of the transcripts revealed deep student involvement with the content and with their peers as well as an academic register interspersed with conversational interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-70
Number of pages22
JournalLanguage Learning and Technology
Volume12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008

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