Thinking about classroom-based assessment

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This paper responds to the sub-strand ‘Assessment in Comprehensive learning systems: in the classroom’ by exploring classroom-based assessment practices through Borg’s (2015) framework of Language Teacher Cognition. The use of Borg’s framework allows the development of understanding in terms of what assessment activities are being chosen and, importantly, the thinking behind those choices. Borg (2015:321) defines language teacher cognition as: “…an inclusive term referring to the complex practically-orientated, personalized, and context-sensitive networks of knowledge, thoughts and beliefs that language teachers draw on in their work.” The framework includes the following topics:
•Schooling – teachers’ experiences of the classroom as school pupils
•Professional Coursework – teachers’ training experiences
•Classroom Practice (including contextual factors) – teachers’ experiences of practice.
A review of the literature suggested that the assessment practices experienced as language learners would be influential on teachers’ assessment practices and teachers tend to replicate these practices in their own teaching (Vogt and Tsagari, 2014, Xu and Brown, 2016, Ell, Hill and Grudnoff, 2012). The literature also suggests that teacher training is less influential on classroom practice than experiences at school (Beijard, Meijer and Verloop, 2004).
The current project is made up of four classroom observations with follow-up interviews. The four observed teachers all had experience of working around the world and had been trained in a variety of education systems. The observations took place in a language centre in the UK. An observation schedule (Sheehan and Munro, 2019) was used to record the assessment activities. In the follow-up interviews the teachers were asked to talk about the thinking behind the observed assessment activities. The interviews also covered the participants’ experiences of assessment as school children and as part of their teacher training experiences.
The paper will have four sections. In the first section the project background will be presented. This is followed by the project methodology. After the results have been presented the conclusions and implications for practice will be discussed. The implications for teacher training practices will be highlighted.
Period10 Dec 2021
Event titleNew Directions East Asia 2021: Fairer Greener Stronger The Future of Language Assessment
Event typeConference
LocationSingapore, Singapore
Degree of RecognitionInternational