Sheehan, Susan, Berry, Vivien and Munro, Sonia (2016) Singing from the same hymn sheet? What language assessment literacy means to teachers. In: Language Assessment Literacy symposium, 16-17 September 2016, Lancaster University. (Unpublished)

This proposal focuses on a project which investigated language assessment literacy practices in the classroom. The project sought to bring teachers more directly into the assessment literacy debate and provide them with training materials which meet their stated needs. With the exception of a single case study following three Chinese University teachers (Xu 2015), no teachers have been asked directly about their attitudes to assessment or their specific training needs

Exploring teachers’ current levels of assessment literacy may help teacher educators to better understand the factors which promote or prevent effective assessment, and thus contribute to more targeted teacher education. However, an investigation into what is happening in classes may be of little value without exploring why it is happening. Teachers’ attitudes and beliefs are frequently cited as exerting a powerful role in shaping their decisions, judgments and behaviour (see for example: Borg, 2006; Kagan, 1992).

The first part of the project was based on interviews and observation. The interviews drew on Davies’ (2008) categories of testing knowledge. He defines these as skills, knowledge and principles. The interviews asked teachers to estimate their understanding of components of the assessment process and asked them to indicate how much they would like to learn about an individual component. Observations were conducted which focussed on teacher assessment practices. Post-observation interviews were conducted with the teachers. The observations and interviews were conducted at the international study centre of a British university. Focus group discussions were held at two teaching centres attached to a major international organisation overseas. These served to confirm the earlier findings. The project culminated in the creation of a set of on-line training materials.

The presentation will describe the project, its findings and conclude with a discussion of the training materials.

Lancaster presentation final.pdf

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