The effectiveness of WebCT as a progress-assessment tool in English Studies

  • Stiaan Lamprecht Department of Accountancy, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • George Nel Department of Accountancy, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Marieken Swart Department of English, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


Given the acceleration in the international and local information and knowledge revolution, the University of Stellenbosch (US) has implemented an e-learning strategy to gain maximum benefit from the developments in information technology. In support of this strategy the US has implemented WebCT as an electronic course management system. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the complementary learning and assessment techniques provided by WebCT are suitable for the evaluation of student responses in a subject like English. This was accomplished in conjunction with research of relevant literature, own experience, categories of student learning, and feedback from students. The WebCT assessment function was used as a complement to traditional lectures and traditional end-of-course written assessment to enrich teaching, promote learning and gauge student insight and progress. Bloom\'s Taxonomy was used to compare the validity of tests conducted through multiple choice WebCT assessment during the term with the results of the end-of-term traditional, written assessment to ascertain whether a reliable impression of student competence can be gained before students sit for their main test at the end of the term. It was concluded that WebCT is a constructive and effective teaching tool that motivates students both intrinsically and extrinsically and gives a fair reflection of student insight and progress. It can be a meaningful and enriching extension of a lecture course if the tool is used by willing lecturers in an innovative manner.

Keywords: assessment English, computer-assisted language learning (CALL), computer-assisted assessment, computer-assisted teaching, multi-sensory teaching, online-assessment English, teaching English, WebCT assessment

Journal for Language Teaching Vol. 39(1) 2005: 132-147

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0259-9570