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Engagement of ESL Students with a Science Course Delivered in English with an Emphasis on Assessment Using a Learning Management System

David B. McKay and Bradley J. Young
Rabdan Academy, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Abstract—The use of an LMS provides the potential for a particularly rich engagement of students with material in ways which can best suit, or at least supplement, their preferred learning styles. A course in environmental science was conducted with freshman ESL students where there was a heavy emphasis on on-line assessment using an LMS. The main pedagogical strategy was to allow 24/7 access to the material and allow students to practice both their reading of complex multiple choice questions along with reading and writing the explanations to these questions. Student success was high in terms of on-line invigilated assessment. Interestingly, the frequencies of student engagement with the on-line multiple choice aspects of the course were highly skewed, coinciding with deadlines for submission. Student success in an oral defence was high and strongly correlated with multiple choice results. In contrast, despite students having access to written model answers and marking schemes, performance on written components of the exams was not strongly correlated with performance in multiple choice components. In-depth interviews with students gave insight into students’ strategies in engaging with the LMS in general and the on-line tests in particular. 
 
Index Terms—ESL, English as second language, LMS, Learning Management System, assessment

Cite: David B. McKay and Bradley J. Young, "Engagement of ESL Students with a Science Course Delivered in English with an Emphasis on Assessment Using a Learning Management System," International Journal of Learning and Teaching, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 95-100, June 2017. doi: 10.18178/ijlt.3.2.95-100 
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