Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) 2nd Special Issue on Covid 19 Challenges January 2022                        Pp. 3-21

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Exploring Online Writing Assessment Amid Covid-19: Challenges and Opportunities from
Teachers’ Perspectives

Abdullah Al-Bargi
English Language Institute
King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


Received:11/8/2021                Accepted: 12/17/2021                       Published: 1/24/2022


Remote online second language (L2) writing instruction, in general, and remote online L2 writing assessment, in particular, require a holistic structural approach that results in improving students’ L2 writing, as well as offering an authentic and fair assessment of students’ L2 writing performance. The study described in this paper employed a convergent parallel mixed methods approach where the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the purpose of the research, necessitated the adoption of this research design since it can provide the basis for answering the question: What impact did full mode online teaching have on L2 education. In the survey part of the research, 241 English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers working in Saudi Arabia participated in a custom-designed 30-item questionnaire utilizing a five-point Likert scale. In the qualitative part of the study, nine EFL teachers (four males and five females) participated in a semi-structured interview which lasted from thirty-five to fifty minutes. A detailed analysis of both the quantitative and qualitative primary data indicated that EFL teachers are aware of the importance of rubrics and standardized assessment procedures in awarding fair grades to students. Teachers also highlighted several important advantages of teaching online L2 writing remotely.  However, the vast majority of teachers questioned the accuracy of online writing assessment, indicating the need for a more developed model for the post Covid-19 era. Recommendations included the adoption of unanimously suggested practices (by participating teachers) in teaching remote online L2 writing as well as mandating the presence of the students onsite during the sitting of the writing exams, thus providing the assurance of authenticity of students’ performance in the writing exams as well as the possibility to monitor all the students while they sit the exams.
Keywords: Academic integrity, Covid-19, English language teaching, English as a foreign language, online writing assessment,
Saudi EFL teachers

Cite as:  Al-Bargi, A. (2022). Exploring Online Writing Assessment Amid Covid-19: Challenges and Opportunities from Teachers’ Perspectives.  Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) 2nd Special Issue on Covid 19 Challenges (2) 3-21.


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Received: 11/8/2021
Accepted: 12/17/2021  
Published: 1/24/2022

Abdullah Al-Bargi is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and currently serves as the President of Saudi TESOL and Dean of the English Language Institute (ELI), King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Dr. Al-Bargi had previously served as the ELI Vice-Dean for Development for seven years. Dr. Al-Bargi obtained his MA and PhD from Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA