Special Issue "Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment"

A special issue of Languages (ISSN 2226-471X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 December 2022 | Viewed by 24085

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dina Tsagari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Primary and Secondary Teacher Education, Faculty of Education and International Studies, OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University, N-0130 Oslo, Norway
Interests: applied linguistics; language testing and assessment; materials design and evaluation; differentiated instruction; multilingualism; CLIL; inclusive education; ELF; distance education and learning difficulties
Dr. Henrik Bøhn
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Languages and Literature Studies, University of South-Eastern Norway, 3184 Borre, Norway
Interests: language assessment literacy; spoken EFL/ESL; language acquisition; intercultural communication

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, discussions and research in the field of language testing and assessment have been motivated by a number of different developments. One such development is the growing role of assessment to support learning and the significant increase of computer-based and multimedia-based learning and assessment environments. Another is the shift away from knowledge transfer towards learning strategies aimed at more generic skills, such as 21st century skills and global competence. In addition, questions concerning what kind of knowledge and skills teachers and other stakeholders need in order to carry out sound assessment practices have led to growing interest in the area of assessment literacy (Tsagari, 2020; Vogt and Tsagari, 2014; Vogt, Tsagari and Spanoudis, 2020)

Growing evidence indicates that language testing and assessment (LTA) is a situated activity, located in particular contexts, characterized by assessment practices and policies compatible with the social and pedagogical values and beliefs that the local community upholds. Recently, studies have begun looking at LTA in particular contexts, drawing attention to the intricacies in examining stakeholders’ practices, perceptions, and knowledge about learning and assessment (Bøhn, 2016; Scarino, 2013).

The goal of this Special Issue is to examine LTA practices from a constructivist or interpretivist epistemological perspective, taking into consideration the importance of context in order to better understand the nature of these practices. The focus of the papers can be theoretical considerations or empirical findings that expand our understanding of what type of LTA stakeholder groups (e.g., teachers, students, testing professionals, and researchers operating in different professional and geographical contexts) need to fulfill their assessment roles. The results should highlight the importance of context in profiling LTA needs, as well as the types of assessment training offered across stakeholder groups.

More specifically, the Special Issue aims to increase our understanding of LTA issues for diverse groups of participants, such as primary and secondary school students, teachers, school leaders, and policy-makers, and for diverse needs (e.g., immigration, special learning needs) with a view to examining those issues from a number of different disciplinary and language perspectives, involving a variety of methodological and theoretical approaches. The papers may also present research efforts related to pre- and in-service teacher training for small- and large-scale projects.

We warmly welcome researchers, research students, and practitioners to submit proposals on topics including, but not limited to:

  • Alternative assessment paradigms and methods.
  • Test washback/impact on teaching and learning.
  • Language assessment literacy.
  • Collaborations across stakeholder groups.
  • The intersection between learning and assessment.
  • Multilingual assessment and assessment in multilingual contexts.
  • Developments in theory and practice of formative assessment. 
  • Assessments and tests with language learners with special needs.
  • Assessing language skills (e.g., reading, writing) and language elements (e.g., grammar)
  • The relationship between assessment, feedback, and learning.
  • E-assessment.
  • Assessment needs and practices in the context of COVID-19.
  • Assessing the language of young learners.
  • Use of game-based and mobile-assisted assessment.

This Special Issue is expected to provide a forum for discussing the above issues and address graduate students, language teachers and teacher trainers, researchers, test writers, exam designers and policy-makers, administrators, and school program planners who are responsible for language assessment. 

Papers are accepted for theoretically oriented work, or for completed empirical studies and assessment development projects. In the case of empirical studies, the abstracts should generally include the objectives of the study, study design and methods, results, conclusions, and implications. In the case of conceptual research, the abstract should discuss an approach or a critical issue, or compare and contrast alternative approaches or issues, and provide significant new insights.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–500 words summarizing their intended contribution. Please send this to the Guest Editors ([email protected] or [email protected]) or to the Languages Editorial Office ([email protected]).  Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

The tentative completion schedule is as follows:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 20 January 2021
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 20 February 2021
  • Full manuscript deadline: 20 September 2021

References

Bøhn, H. (2016). What is to be assessed? Teachers’ understanding of construct in an oral English examination in Norway. (Unpublished PhD thesis), University of Oslo, Oslo. URL: https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/53229.

Scarino, A. (2013). Language Assessment Literacy as Self-Awareness: Understanding the Role of Interpretation in Assessment and Teacher Learning. Language Testing, 30(3), 309-327.

Tsagari, D. (2020). Language Assessment Literacy: Concepts, Challenges and Prospects. In S. Hidri. (Ed.), Perspectives on Language Assessment Literacy: Challenges for Improved Student Learning. Language Assessment Literacy: concepts, challenges and prospects (pp. 13-33). New York: Routledge.

Vogt, K., & Tsagari, D. (2014). Assessment Literacy of Foreign Language Teachers: Findings of a European Study. Language Assessment Quarterly, 11(4), 374-402.

Vogt, K., Tsagari, D., & Csepes, I. (2020). Linking Learners’ Perspective on Language Assessment Practices to Teachers’ Assessment Literacy Enhancement (TALE): Insights from Four European Countries. Language Assessment Quarterly, 17(4), 410-433.

Prof. Dina Tsagari
Dr. Henrik Bøhn
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Languages is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • LTA validity
  • alternative methods
  • language assessment literacy
  • E-assessment
  • testing language skills
  • validity studies
  • assessment in multilingual contexts
  • assessing students with special learning needs
  • washback/impact
  • collaborations in LTA
  • assessing young learners
  • assessment in COVID-19

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

Article
Squaring the Circle of Alternative Assessment in Distance Language Education: A Focus on the Young Learner
Languages 2022, 7(2), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7020121 - 12 May 2022
Viewed by 594
Abstract
Because of the suspension of face-to-face (F2F) teaching activities caused by COVID-19, practitioners are in limbo regarding the assessment of young learners (YLs) in the virtual learning environment, as they are left with minimal guidance and evidence on what can be applicable and [...] Read more.
Because of the suspension of face-to-face (F2F) teaching activities caused by COVID-19, practitioners are in limbo regarding the assessment of young learners (YLs) in the virtual learning environment, as they are left with minimal guidance and evidence on what can be applicable and effective in the new context. In many countries worldwide, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, schools in Greece were closed in March 2020. Schools began re-opening in September 2020; however, the second wave of COVID-19 struck, and the number of cases began to grow dangerously. Consequently, schools closed for the second time at the beginning of November 2020, causing teachers and students to face significant assessment challenges. The article presents a case study that concentrates on eight YLs aged 8–10 years old. Alternative assessment was applied during the students’ online language lessons as a means for the teacher to assess and evaluate students’ progress and learning of vocabulary and spelling. For the needs of the study, online observations were conducted, and field notes, record sheets and checklists were kept for a period of two months. Two months after the online lessons commenced, the students were interviewed in order to gain a holistic view of their progress and their feelings toward the experience of an alternative form of assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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Article
Diagnostic Assessment of Academic Reading: Peeping into Students’ Annotated Texts
Languages 2022, 7(2), 84; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7020084 - 30 Mar 2022
Viewed by 813
Abstract
Text annotations are literacy practices that are not uncommon in the reading experience of university students. Annotations may be multilingual, monolingual, or multimodal. Despite their enormous diagnostic potentials, annotations have not been widely investigated for what they can reveal about the cognitive processes [...] Read more.
Text annotations are literacy practices that are not uncommon in the reading experience of university students. Annotations may be multilingual, monolingual, or multimodal. Despite their enormous diagnostic potentials, annotations have not been widely investigated for what they can reveal about the cognitive processes that are involved in academic reading. In other words, there has been limited exploration of the insights that signs (verbal and non-verbal) inscribed by students on texts offer for understanding and intervening in their academic reading practices. The aim of this exploratory study is to examine the diagnostic assessment potentials of student-annotated texts. On the basis of text annotations obtained from teacher trainee students (n = 7) enrolled at a German university, we seek to understand what different students attend to while reading, what their problem-solving strategies are, what languages and other semiotic systems they deploy, what their level of engagement with text is, and, critically, how the foregoing provide a basis for intervening to validate, reinforce, correct, or teach certain reading skills and practices. Theoretically, the study is undergirded by the notion of text movability. Data suggestive of how students journey through text are argued to have implications for understanding and teaching how they manage attention, use dictionaries, own text meaning, and appraise text. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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Article
Second Language Assessment Issues in Refugee and Migrant Children’s Integration and Education: Assessment Tools and Practices for Young Students with Refugee and Migrant Background in Greece
Languages 2022, 7(2), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7020082 - 30 Mar 2022
Viewed by 758
Abstract
European countries—Greece included—recognize the fact that the language of schooling in the host country constitutes the first step for the newcomer children’s reception and integration. Greece, as a dominant receiving country, has adopted a top-level policy for its educational system. Considering the above, [...] Read more.
European countries—Greece included—recognize the fact that the language of schooling in the host country constitutes the first step for the newcomer children’s reception and integration. Greece, as a dominant receiving country, has adopted a top-level policy for its educational system. Considering the above, this research paper presents and analyzes the assessment tests and practices that educators have access to for evaluating refugee and migrant students’ L2 Greek competence in Greece. A detailed presentation of the Assessment Tools for Refugee and Migrant children in Greece is provided, with a focus on teachers’ attitudes and beliefs toward these materials and tools. The appropriateness of the available assessment tools and practices regarding the linguistic and social needs of refugee and migrant children in the Greek context will also be discussed. Findings show that teachers’ perceptions regarding both tests and practices for refugee and migrant students during an initial and formative language assessment vary. It is important to state, though, that the vast majority of the educators feel very sure and comfortable when assessing the linguistic skills of their students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Developing a Technology-Based Classroom Assessment of Academic Reading Skills for English Language Learners and Teachers: Validity Evidence for Formative Use
Languages 2022, 7(2), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7020071 - 22 Mar 2022
Viewed by 829
Abstract
In U.S. K-12 schools, adequate education of English language learner (EL) students, particularly to support their attainment of English language and literacy skills, has attracted heightened attention. The increased academic rigor as well as sophisticated disciplinary language demands embodied in current academic content [...] Read more.
In U.S. K-12 schools, adequate education of English language learner (EL) students, particularly to support their attainment of English language and literacy skills, has attracted heightened attention. The increased academic rigor as well as sophisticated disciplinary language demands embodied in current academic content standards have posed considerable challenges to EL students. To address students’ needs, the present study utilized formative assessment as a means to support the teaching and learning of academic reading skills for EL students. We also endeavored to test our underlying assumption that sound assessment tools would facilitate effective formative assessment processes. In this study, we devised a technology-based assessment tool considering the increasing use of technology in K-12 schools. As a small-scale, exploratory study, we examined the usability and validity of the tool for formative purposes with three ESL teachers and their students (62 EL students) from secondary schools. The results indicated that the tool had the potential to extend teachers’ and students’ formative assessment practices in principled ways. However, we also found some teachers’ misconceptions about the tool’s purpose and their limited implementation skills to utilize the tool for formative assessment purposes. Implications for practice and further research are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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Article
Evaluating Perceptions towards the Consequential Validity of Integrated Language Proficiency Assessment
Languages 2022, 7(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010065 - 09 Mar 2022
Viewed by 878
Abstract
This research study explores teacher and student perceptions to verify consequential validity and the potential washback effect of a locally developed university-level English language proficiency test which consists of reading and listening-to-writing assessment tasks. The integrated language proficiency test is used upon completion [...] Read more.
This research study explores teacher and student perceptions to verify consequential validity and the potential washback effect of a locally developed university-level English language proficiency test which consists of reading and listening-to-writing assessment tasks. The integrated language proficiency test is used upon completion of the English language preparatory program in the Turkish context to determine learners’ access to further English medium academic courses in their departments. To examine whether this source-based proficiency test has achieved its intended outcomes, 39 freshman students and 19 university instructors, who offered courses in various departments, were surveyed through questionnaires. Interviews were conducted with the instructors to gauge their perspectives about the validity of the integrated proficiency test-based decisions (whether students pass or fail) over time in terms of the language competency and academic skills of their learners. Quantitative and qualitative data analysis also revealed evidence both for positive and negative issues concerning the consequential validity of the test. Findings may help educators to reach a better understanding of the construct of integrated language assessment tasks in EAP contexts and the consequences of their use in achieving the intended and unintended curricular goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Overall, a Good Test, but…—Swedish Lower Secondary Teachers’ Perceptions and Use of National Test Results of English
Languages 2022, 7(1), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010064 - 08 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 969
Abstract
This article builds on a study set within the Swedish educational system and focuses on lower secondary teachers’ use of national test results when awarding final grades of English as a foreign language (EFL). In Sweden, teachers are entrusted with the responsibility of [...] Read more.
This article builds on a study set within the Swedish educational system and focuses on lower secondary teachers’ use of national test results when awarding final grades of English as a foreign language (EFL). In Sweden, teachers are entrusted with the responsibility of assessing their own students’ competences as well as assigning grades. To support them, there are compulsory national tests to be used as important advisory tools; however, they are not exams in a strict decisive sense. After a brief contextualization and conceptualization regarding language education in Sweden, including the assessment, teachers’ somewhat contradictory perceptions and use of results from the national EFL test for 11–12-year-olds are described and discussed. Data emanate from large-scale teacher questionnaires conducted for three years (2013, 2016 and 2019), which are analyzed from quantitative as well as qualitative angles. Results indicate that a number of teachers struggle with factors related to the language construct as well as to the educational context and consequences at individual, pedagogical and structural levels. This is discussed from various angles, linked not least to the policy, curriculum and other frame factors. Furthermore, the need for further research in direct collaboration with teachers is emphasized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
The Impact of Student Teachers’ Pre-Existing Conceptions of Assessment on the Development of Language Assessment Literacy within an LTA Course
Languages 2022, 7(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010062 - 04 Mar 2022
Viewed by 996
Abstract
The paper proposes the preparation of a new generation of assessment literate teachers. The issues of student assessment literacy and, more specifically, prospective language teacher assessment literacy have not been sufficiently investigated as of yet, although research into the topic seems to have [...] Read more.
The paper proposes the preparation of a new generation of assessment literate teachers. The issues of student assessment literacy and, more specifically, prospective language teacher assessment literacy have not been sufficiently investigated as of yet, although research into the topic seems to have gained momentum. Recent studies state that the assessment literacy of teachers is essentially affected by their pre-existing conceptions of assessments), and teacher education should integrate shaping such conceptions into courses; the process of shaping conceptions is quite long and, because it is time-consuming, it may deter assessment literacy building. The current study explores the conceptions of the assessments shaped by prospective teachers within a general English course. The two major conceptions of assessment, relevant for the framework of teaching general English to second-year student teachers of English, are the understanding of feedback and knowledge of assessment construct and criteria. The findings of the study in this cohort of students of the particular course in language assessment shows that the students’ progress was considerably higher than that of a comparison group in the previous 2020 study. The author suggests two types of AL, i.e., student and prospective teacher assessment literacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Effects of Recasts, Metalinguistic Feedback, and Students’ Proficiency on the Acquisition of Greek Perfective Past Tense
Languages 2022, 7(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010040 - 21 Feb 2022
Viewed by 827
Abstract
The role of interactional corrective feedback in second language assessment has attracted both teachers’ and second language researchers’ interest, as they are concerned with when corrective feedback can be implemented to assist second language acquisition. This quasi-experimental intervention study aims to investigate the [...] Read more.
The role of interactional corrective feedback in second language assessment has attracted both teachers’ and second language researchers’ interest, as they are concerned with when corrective feedback can be implemented to assist second language acquisition. This quasi-experimental intervention study aims to investigate the impact of two corrective feedback types, namely recasts and metalinguistic feedback, and students’ proficiency in the acquisition of the Greek perfective past tense. The sample consists of ten adult beginners’ classes (n = 86 students) of the Modern Greek Language Teaching Center of the University of Athens. The classes were randomly assigned to three treatment conditions: (a) recast; (b) metalinguistic feedback; (c) no feedback and participated in form-focused production activities. A grammaticality judgment pretest and posttest were administrated to measure participants’ development on the explicit knowledge of perfective past tense morphology. After the treatment, participants were divided in the database into high and low beginner students based on their performance on a placement test administrated prior to the treatment. Results revealed that the groups that received corrective feedback outperformed the control group, while no statistical significance was found between the two treatment groups. Moreover, high-beginner learners benefited equally from both feedback types, whereas low-beginner learners benefited significantly from metalinguistic feedback. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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Article
Language Assessment Literacy of Middle School English Teachers in Mexico
Languages 2022, 7(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010032 - 11 Feb 2022
Viewed by 590
Abstract
Because English is an integral component of education in Mexico, it is necessary to explore teachers’ language assessment literacy (LAL), or their language assessment knowledge and practices. Previous LAL studies have been performed in standardized testing-focused. However, the present study aims to explore [...] Read more.
Because English is an integral component of education in Mexico, it is necessary to explore teachers’ language assessment literacy (LAL), or their language assessment knowledge and practices. Previous LAL studies have been performed in standardized testing-focused. However, the present study aims to explore the LAL of teachers of middle school English students in a context where governmental policies strive to engender communicative language learning, specifically, Mexico. I have taken a mixed methods approach which involved a survey (N = 123) and interviews at two locations in Mexico. The semi-structured interviews were conducted at one bilingual middle school (N = 7) and in one extracurricular English program (N = 6). Participants were asked about their previous training, confidence levels in their assessment practices, and their training needs. Findings suggest a divide among teachers with higher and lower levels of LAL. Participants indicated that their training primarily covered traditional forms of assessment and classroom-level decision-making. However, data also suggest that participants valued non-traditional assessment activities. Finally, participants desired training on topics such as the use of technology in assessment, unfamiliar non-traditional assessment activities, and program-level decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Oral Reflection Tasks: Advanced Spanish L2 Learner Insights on Emergency Remote Teaching Assessment Practices in a Higher Education Context
Languages 2022, 7(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010026 - 29 Jan 2022
Viewed by 1351
Abstract
This paper reports on a small-scale study that is the first to explore Advanced Spanish L2 learners’ personal awareness of their language and culture learning through e-assessment tasks in an Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) context, mediated by five task-specific, individual spoken reflections. The [...] Read more.
This paper reports on a small-scale study that is the first to explore Advanced Spanish L2 learners’ personal awareness of their language and culture learning through e-assessment tasks in an Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT) context, mediated by five task-specific, individual spoken reflections. The value of reflection in education, particularly for L2 writing and distance learning, has been explored in different modalities, e.g., individual spoken reflection and group spoken reflection. Building on previous research, this study explores a group of advanced Spanish L2 learners (n = 25) reflecting on five multi-modal e-assessments through individually assessed oral audio-recorded post-assessment reflection tasks (n = 125). A thematic content analysis applied to transcriptions yields findings from a pedagogical perspective on language learning, completing assessments and personal affective responses. The learners’ candid and explicit orientations towards various types of multimodal language-learning e-assessment tasks offer instructors information on learners’ awareness of classroom-based assessment tasks being enablers for individual learning goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Exploring EFL Teachers’ Perceptions of the Use of Peer Assessment in External Exam-Dominated Writing Classes
Languages 2022, 7(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010016 - 19 Jan 2022
Viewed by 997
Abstract
Several studies on peer assessment (PA) have highlighted significant benefits for the learning process such as increased student motivation, enhanced collaborative learning (especially in terms of EFL writing) and improved reflection skills. Research on secondary school teachers’ perceptions of PA is lacking, particularly [...] Read more.
Several studies on peer assessment (PA) have highlighted significant benefits for the learning process such as increased student motivation, enhanced collaborative learning (especially in terms of EFL writing) and improved reflection skills. Research on secondary school teachers’ perceptions of PA is lacking, particularly in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) external-examination-dominated contexts. The current study presents an in-depth exploration of 40 EFL Greek Cypriot teachers’ perceptions of the use of PA in secondary education to address adolescent learners’ poor writing performance, low motivation, and exam failure. Teachers used PA of writing for one whole school year with more than 400 students after receiving training in PA methods and continuous support throughout this implementation. The researcher used semi-structured interviews to explore EFL teachers’ attitudes towards PA after implementing it in their classes. Findings indicated that teachers were initially reluctant to use PA with their students but changed their minds during its implementation and reported that PA facilitated learning by making the educational process easier for learners. Given teachers’ favourable attitudes towards PA after experimenting with it for a whole year and the benefits that they believe students (especially low-achieving) may gain from the implementation of PA of EFL writing in their classes, this study suggests that PA is a promising inclusive assessment method that caters to diverse learners’ needs and fosters autonomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Swedish and Finnish Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions of Summative Assessment Practices
Languages 2022, 7(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010010 - 05 Jan 2022
Viewed by 828
Abstract
Summative assessments are an exercise of authority and something that pupils cannot easily appeal. The importance of teachers being able to assess their pupils correctly is consequently both a question of national equivalence and individual fairness. Therefore, summative assessment is a paramount theme [...] Read more.
Summative assessments are an exercise of authority and something that pupils cannot easily appeal. The importance of teachers being able to assess their pupils correctly is consequently both a question of national equivalence and individual fairness. Therefore, summative assessment is a paramount theme in teacher education, and we aimed to investigate the perceptions and competence of student teachers regarding common summative assessment practices. The study was conducted at three universities, two in Sweden and one in Finland involving prospective language teachers responding to an online survey (N = 131). In addition, interviews were carried out with 20 Swedish and 6 Finnish student teachers. The analysis of the data indicates that student teachers value practices that enhance communication and collaboration as well as the curricular alignment of summative assessments. With respect to perceived competence, the respondents in general felt most confident with deploying traditional forms of summative assessment, while they were more uncertain about process evaluation and oral skills. Regarding significant differences in the participants’ perceptions of competence among the three universities, Finnish university students reported higher levels in all variables. However, room for improvement was found at all universities involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Special Needs Assessment in Bilingual School-Age Children in Germany
Languages 2022, 7(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages7010004 - 30 Dec 2021
Viewed by 807
Abstract
Educational and (psycho-)linguistic research on L1 and L2 acquisition in bilingual children sketches them as a group of language learners varying in many aspects. However, most studies to date have based evaluations of language proficiency or new assessment tools on data from heritage [...] Read more.
Educational and (psycho-)linguistic research on L1 and L2 acquisition in bilingual children sketches them as a group of language learners varying in many aspects. However, most studies to date have based evaluations of language proficiency or new assessment tools on data from heritage children, while studies on the appropriateness of assessment tools for school-age refugee children remain a notable exception. This study focuses on the standardized assessment tool BUEGA for primary school children, which is, among others, a widespread tool for the assessment of pedagogical support or special needs (SN) in Germany. We compare the performance of 12 typically developing monolinguals (MoTD: 7;3–12;1), 14 heritage-bilinguals (BiTD: 7;1–13;4, L1 Turkish and Arabic), 12 refugee- students (BiTD: 8;7–13;1, L1 Arabic), and 7 children with developmental language disorders (DLD: 7;7–13;9) on the subtests of grammar, word-reading, and spelling. Overall results show that refugee-BiTDs perform in the (monolingual) pathology range. No significant differences emerged between students with DLD and typically developing (TD) refugee students. Considering the assessment of school-related language performance, bilingual refugees are at risk of misdiagnosis, along with the well-known effects of educational disadvantage. This particularly applies to children with low socioeconomic status (SES). Looking beyond oral language competencies and using test combinations can help exclude language disorders in school-age children with limited L2 proficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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Article
Multiple Stakeholder Interaction to Enhance Preservice Teachers’ Language Assessment Literacy
Languages 2021, 6(4), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040213 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1148
Abstract
Conducted in a U.S. English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages (ESOL) preservice teacher education program, this case study aimed to explore a dynamic process of preservice teachers’ development of language assessment literacy (LAL). By inviting multiple stakeholders, namely preservice teachers, an inservice teacher and her ESOL students, and [...] Read more.
Conducted in a U.S. English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages (ESOL) preservice teacher education program, this case study aimed to explore a dynamic process of preservice teachers’ development of language assessment literacy (LAL). By inviting multiple stakeholders, namely preservice teachers, an inservice teacher and her ESOL students, and their course instructor, this study closely examined the interaction among the stakeholders during a semester-long language assessment development project as a process to develop LAL. The project, which was composed of planning, development, implementation, and reflection stages, was innovative in that it: (a) involved the multiple stakeholders; (b) focused on their dynamic interactions and multi-directional influences on all the participants’ enhancement of LAL; and (c) was conducted in an online format. By employing thematic analyses on interactions among the stakeholders, this study described and analyzed how preservice teachers contextualize their assessment while negotiating the needs of the inservice teachers and their students with assistance from the course instructor. The paper identified practical benefits and challenges of professional training where multiple stakeholders are involved. It also highlighted the non-linear dynamic process of preservice teachers’ development of LAL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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Article
Assessing Writing in French-as-a-Foreign-Language: Teacher Practices and Learner Uptake
Languages 2021, 6(4), 210; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040210 - 17 Dec 2021
Viewed by 845
Abstract
Formative assessment and adaptive instruction have been focus areas in Norwegian educational policy for more than a decade. Writing instruction in the language subjects is no exception; assessment of writing should help the learners improve their writing skills and, thus, feedback must be [...] Read more.
Formative assessment and adaptive instruction have been focus areas in Norwegian educational policy for more than a decade. Writing instruction in the language subjects is no exception; assessment of writing should help the learners improve their writing skills and, thus, feedback must be adapted to the individual learner’s needs. The present study aims to shed light on the relations between teacher feedback practices and learner uptake in French-as-a-foreign-language upper secondary classes in Norway. Using material from a longitudinal corpus of learner texts, including teacher feedback (the TRAWL corpus), the study investigates the written feedback practices of three L3 French teachers, and explores whether any signs of uptake can be identified in 27 learners’ new pieces of writings. The findings show that although the teachers followed best practice principles for formative assessment and written corrective feedback, less than half of the students showed any signs of uptake in subsequent pieces of writing. With one exception, these were students with an intermediate-high to very high proficiency level in French. The study emphasises the importance of strategies that could encourage learners to use the feedback they receive, thus moving the centre of attention from teacher practices to learner activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Policy in Practice: Teachers’ Conceptualizations of L2 English Oral Proficiency as Operationalized in High-Stakes Test Assessment
Languages 2021, 6(4), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040204 - 09 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1221
Abstract
Assessment of foreign/second language (L2) oral proficiency is known to be complex and influenced by the local context. In Sweden, extensive assessment guidelines for the National English Speaking Test (NEST) are offered to teachers, who act as raters of their own students’ performances [...] Read more.
Assessment of foreign/second language (L2) oral proficiency is known to be complex and influenced by the local context. In Sweden, extensive assessment guidelines for the National English Speaking Test (NEST) are offered to teachers, who act as raters of their own students’ performances on this high-stakes L2 English oral proficiency (OP) test. Despite guidelines, teachers commonly construct their own NEST scoring rubric. The present study aims to unveil teachers-as-raters’ conceptualizations, as these emerge from the self-made scoring rubrics, and possible transformations of policy. Data consist of 20 teacher-generated scoring rubrics used for assessing NEST (years 6 and 9). Rubrics were collected via personal networks and online teacher membership groups. Employing content analysis, data were analysed qualitatively to examine (i) what OP sub-skills were in focus for assessment, (ii) how sub-skills were conceptualized, and (iii) scoring rubric design. Results showed that the content and design of rubrics were heavily influenced by the official assessment guidelines, which led to broad consensus about what to assess—but not about how to assess. Lack of consensus was particularly salient for interactive skills. Analysis of policy transformations revealed that teachers’ self-made templates, in fact, lead to an analytic rather than a holistic assessment practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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Article
Students’ Perceptions of Involvement in the Assessment of Oral Competence in English as a Second Language
Languages 2021, 6(4), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040203 - 08 Dec 2021
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Abstract
This mixed-method study examined students’ perceptions of involvement in the assessment practice of oral competence in English in Norwegian upper secondary schools. Student involvement in assessment can be seen as a key factor when it comes to enhancing students’ learning outcome and motivation. [...] Read more.
This mixed-method study examined students’ perceptions of involvement in the assessment practice of oral competence in English in Norwegian upper secondary schools. Student involvement in assessment can be seen as a key factor when it comes to enhancing students’ learning outcome and motivation. Previous research has, however, shown that student involvement and the assessment of oral competence in English as a second language classes have been challenging. Surveys (N = 116) and two focus group interviews (N = 8) were used. The findings revealed that the students wanted to be more involved in the assessment practice. Moreover, the students saw this increased involvement as a way to enhance their oral competence in English. The students expressed uncertainty as to what they were assessed by. The implications of this study suggest that increased involvement in developing goals and criteria and more dialogue-based feedback are beneficial measures for strengthening students’ learning outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Conceptions of Assessment as an Integral Part of Language Learning: A Case Study of Finnish and Chinese University Students
Languages 2021, 6(4), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040202 - 07 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1145
Abstract
Assessment is viewed as an internal and pivotal part of learning, where cultural factors, previous experiences, and future aspirations affect learners’ perceptions. In recent years, an increasing number of western universities have established their campuses or “dual” programmes in China. In the first [...] Read more.
Assessment is viewed as an internal and pivotal part of learning, where cultural factors, previous experiences, and future aspirations affect learners’ perceptions. In recent years, an increasing number of western universities have established their campuses or “dual” programmes in China. In the first Sino–Finnish programme, 293 Finnish and Chinese students participated in the same English for Specific Purposes (ESP) course. This study investigated students’ perceptions of assessment through an adapted version of the “Students’ Conceptions of Assessment” inventory, and it explored if the responses on each conception differ between the groups. The self-report inventory included statements based on four main conceptions of assessment: improvement, external factors, affect/benefit, and irrelevance, while open-ended questions were also included. The analysis of the open-ended questions raised the issues of teacher fairness, learner autonomy, and feedback. Additionally, differences appeared between the role of assessment and its relation to future aspirations, as well as the role of the parents. This study is a starting point for exploring the conceptions for distinct groups of students regarding assessment, providing a better understanding of students’ perceptions and discussing the implications for the language classroom. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Washback Effects of Diagnostic Assessment in Greek as an SL: Primary School Teachers’ Perceptions in Cyprus
Languages 2021, 6(4), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040195 - 26 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1118
Abstract
Washback of diagnostic tools targeted to young migrant learners has been an under-researched area in the language assessment field. This paper explores teachers’ perceptions on the Greek Diagnostic Language Assessment (GDLA) tool recently introduced into the SL preparatory classes of the Cyprus primary [...] Read more.
Washback of diagnostic tools targeted to young migrant learners has been an under-researched area in the language assessment field. This paper explores teachers’ perceptions on the Greek Diagnostic Language Assessment (GDLA) tool recently introduced into the SL preparatory classes of the Cyprus primary education. The tool’s implementation coincides with the launch of a new SL curriculum. The objective is fourfold: (1) to examine GDLA’s washback effects on teaching/assessment, (2) to investigate washback’s variability with respect to several contextual variables, (3) to collect feedback on the perceived credibility of the tool, and (4) to reflect on the use of the GDLA tool as a lever of instructional reform in support of curricular innovation. The study employs a mixed-methods approach and draws on (a) quantitative data (questionnaire, 234 informants) and (b) qualitative data (interviews, 6 participants). The results indicate a positive and quite strong washback on teaching and assessment. However, they bring to the surface several misconceptions on the purpose and the implementation of diagnostic assessment, pointing to gaps in the teachers’ assessment literacy. They also bring into play school administration constraints. Finally, they imply that a diagnostic assessment aligned to a context-sensitive curriculum may bind the test to positive washback. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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Article
Training the Trainers in Language Assessment via Mentoring: Building Expertise to Promote Language Assessment Literacy of Ukrainian University Teachers
Languages 2021, 6(4), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040194 - 26 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 834
Abstract
This mixed-methods study described a case of group-based informal mentoring, a conceptual model of which was aligned with an effective mentoring program found in the literature. The research questions that were addressed in the study included: (1) Will mentoring training, conducted within a [...] Read more.
This mixed-methods study described a case of group-based informal mentoring, a conceptual model of which was aligned with an effective mentoring program found in the literature. The research questions that were addressed in the study included: (1) Will mentoring training, conducted within a short (1-month) period, enable inexperienced presenters to develop and conduct an effective workshop in LTA? (2) In what way(s) has mentoring training impacted the mentees as prospective trainers in LTA? The training was implemented by one mentor and two mentees, with the immediate purpose to organize a platform to disseminate the results of an Erasmus+ staff mobility program. The data were collected via a questionnaire, a self-efficacy scale and reflection logs about the mentoring procedure, as well as the workshop in LTA conducted by the mentees with the purpose to enhance Ukrainian university teachers’ LAL. The outcome of the training reported a high success level of the workshop among 37 attendees. In addition, the participants of the mentoring training (n = 2) demonstrated improvement in their organizational skills and professional growth. The mentoring framework proved to be an effective strategy for implementing study objectives and can be recognized as a successful model for the promotion of language assessment literacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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Article
A Toolkit for the Investigation of Greek EFL Teachers’ Assessment Literacy
Languages 2021, 6(4), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6040188 - 16 Nov 2021
Viewed by 912
Abstract
The role of assessment in a learner-centred environment is considered to be significant for both learners and teachers. Most of the time, however, it is used in traditional ways and ignores learners’ individual needs. Based on the results of a survey conducted in [...] Read more.
The role of assessment in a learner-centred environment is considered to be significant for both learners and teachers. Most of the time, however, it is used in traditional ways and ignores learners’ individual needs. Based on the results of a survey conducted in 2019, in which a questionnaire was administered to a hundred and twenty EFL teachers, the present study aims to investigate Greek EFL teachers’ responses to communicative testing techniques and their awareness of assessment methods and principles. The aforementioned survey revealed that the majority of EFL teachers in the Greek educational context use traditional tests to assess their students and, although they are aware of alternative assessment methods and the benefits they offer, they fail to employ them. Thus, a 106-item tool was created in order to help teachers design, develop, and critically evaluate tests, as well as reflect on their assessment techniques to promote the use of alternative assessment and supplement the teachers’ theoretical knowledge and experience. Ninety-three EFL teachers evaluated themselves and rated their practices through the toolkit to find out the type of assessors that they are. The findings revealed that a lot of the participants are aware of the key principles of assessment and try to assess the four skills in a communicative and authentic way to a great extent, but most of them are mainstream assessors. The findings can be used to help design samples of authentic tasks for all skills and assessment-related teacher training material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
Article
Opening Pandora’s Box: How Does Peer Assessment Affect EFL Students’ Writing Quality?
Languages 2021, 6(3), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6030115 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1083
Abstract
Recent research has underlined the benefits of peer assessment (PA) as it helps learners write high-quality essays and increases their confidence as writers. In terms of this intervention study, 200 Greek Cypriot EFL learners’ essays (pre- and post-tests) were evaluated taking into consideration [...] Read more.
Recent research has underlined the benefits of peer assessment (PA) as it helps learners write high-quality essays and increases their confidence as writers. In terms of this intervention study, 200 Greek Cypriot EFL learners’ essays (pre- and post-tests) were evaluated taking into consideration four aspects of writing quality after using either PA and teacher assessment (TA) (experimental groups, n = 100 students) or only TA (control groups, n = 100 students) in their writing classes for one year. This is one of the few studies, to the knowledge of the present researcher, which have performed text analysis of so many aspects of writing quality using such a—relatively—large sample (400 essays) in such a challenging setting (secondary education). Learners’ essays were evaluated in terms of accuracy, fluency, grammatical complexity, and lexical complexity using Atlas.ti. Findings indicated that learners who received PA and TA improved their essays more in terms of lexical complexity, accuracy, and some features of grammatical complexity and fluency than those who received only TA. The current study highlights the desirability of collaborative group work, in the form of PA activities, in the creation of opportunities conducive to promoting writing quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Developments in Language Testing and Assessment)
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