The Repository @ St. Cloud State

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The purpose of this investigation is to gather and compare data as to students’ performances, processes, and perceptions of computer-based writing assessments versus paper-based writing assessments within the context of a university ESL program in the hopes of providing further support and considerations for implementation of computerbased writing assessments for ESL programs. Other learner variables, such as computer experience and typing ability, are compared to see if they have a measurable impact on students’ products, processes, or perceptions of writing in both modes. The raters also provided evidence for their reactions to scoring written texts in various modes, as scoring is also a significant factor when verifying the comparability of written assessments. Data for students’ and raters’ performances were gathered through essay scores; data for students’ processes were gathered through online questionnaires and also stimulated recall interviews; and data for students’ and raters’ perceptions were gathered through online questionnaires. Though results are limited in scope due to small sample sizes, the performances of ESL students in this study infer that the majority of them are not yet proficient enough in writing computer-based essays to substantiate obligating them to utilize this medium for high-stakes testing. Providing ESL students with a choice of medium is also not recommended due to discrepancies in students’ perceptions of their abilities and also due to raters’ scoring of essays across both modes.

Faculty Supervisor

Ettien Koffi

Author Bio

Benjamin Kohler is a recent graduate of the MA TESL & Applied Linguistics Program at SCSU and is currently an English Lecturer at Qatar University. He earned BAs in English and Spanish from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. He has extensive experience teaching ESL and EFL to various age groups and levels in the United States, Spain, and Chile. In the future he hopes to continue to teach and perform research in areas such as computer-assisted language learning and second language acquisition. He may be reached at



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