Putting Assessment for Learning (AfL) into Practice in a Higher Education EFL Context
In the past twenty years or so, assessment in education has become increasingly viewed as a means of guiding and improving student learning, rather than simply measuring it. The assessment for learning (AfL) movement, arising primarily from mainstream primary and secondary education in the UK, strongly advocates this formative, learning-centered view of assessment. At the level of classroom practice, AfL is comprised of a number of key procedures including: the use of effective feedback, self-and peer assessment, questioning and classroom dialogue, and the formative use of summative tests. Based on a series of classroom research projects, this doctoral thesis examines these AfL procedures in a higher education EFL context with adult students at a university in Tokyo, Japan.
After an introductory chapter in which AfL theory and fundamentals are presented, the three body chapters of this thesis are comprised of a series of five reports of AfL procedures being used in various classroom and teaching contexts. Chapter 1 describes a research project centered on the issue of feedback on the first draft of student essays, and begins with a teacher self-assessment of written feedback. This is followed by a report of the impact of the feedback on student essays, and how students felt about the process.
Chapter 2 focuses on the student in the assessor role, and begins in Part A with a report focused on self-assessment of class participation in a freshman English class. This is followed in Part B by examining the issue of peer assessment in a public speaking course.
Chapter 3 first investigates the issue of questioning in classroom dialogue, in particular, student-generated questioning. The final research project report then examines the issue of using summative assessment for formative purposes in promoting student learning. Following Chapter 3, a conclusion draws the five AfL reports together for a more holistic view of the process of putting these AfL procedures into practice in a higher education EFL context with adult learners.
About the Author
Eddy White, Ph.D., is the Assessment Coordinator for the Center for English as a Second Language at the University of Arizona in Tucson.