Attitudes, Practices and Needs

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This presentation focuses on a project which investigated language assessment literacy practices in the English as a foreign language 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). 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. These explored the attitudes to assessment of the teachers. 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. These explored the training needs of the teachers. 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. Perhaps the significance of this project lies in its adoption of a qualitatively orientated approach to research the topic and its inclusion of observation and interview data. Much of the previous research into assessment literacy has relied on survey data.
Period17 Aug 2017
Event titleBritish Association for Applied Linguistics: Diversity in Applied Linguistics: Opportunities, Challenges, Questions
Event typeConference
LocationLeeds, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational