Sheehan, Susan and Munro, Sonia (2017) Assessment: attitudes, practices and needs. Project Report. British Council.

This project investigated language assessment
literacy practices in the classroom. We sought to
bring teachers more directly into the assessment
literacy debate and provide them with training
materials which meet their stated needs.
Teachers’ attitudes and beliefs are frequently cited
as exerting a powerful role in shaping their decisions,
judgements and behaviour (see, for example, Borg,
2006; Kagan, 1992). Therefore, 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.
A qualitative approach was adopted and methods
used included interviews, observations and focus
group discussions. The interviews drew on Davies’
(2008) components of assessment literacy which
he defined as Skills, Knowledge and Principles.
Observations were conducted which focused 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
teaching centres attached to a major international
organisation overseas. A workshop was held at an
international teacher conference to pilot the online
training materials.
The training materials cover five topics:
■■ CEFR and levelness
■■ assessing young learners
■■ assessment for learning
■■ language assessment for teachers
■■ assessment resources.
The emphasis in the materials is on practical
approaches, but in line with our participants’ stated
needs it includes a basic introduction to theoretical

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