What teachers think about assessment and how it influences their classroom-based assessment practices – the results of a global survey

Sheehan, S. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This proposal addresses the sub-theme of assessment practices with a particular focus on classroom-based assessment.
Much of the research into Language Assessment Literacy (LAL) has suggested that teachers lack knowledge about assessment and are using assessment techniques in the classroom for which they have received insufficient training (Vogt and Tsagari, 2014). Teachers have been characterised as repeating the assessment practices they experienced themselves as language students. This has been described as a brake on innovation in classroom-based assessment (Vogt and Tsagari, 2014, Xu and Brown, 2016, Ell, Hill and Grudnoff, 2012). This study sought to explore the relationship between assessment experiences and assessment practices.
The project focused on the following research questions:
● How do teachers develop their identity as assessors?
● What role do teachers’ experiences of assessment, both in their own schooling, and as teachers, play in the development of their assessment practices?
The questionnaire focused on experiences of assessment and currently held beliefs relating to assessment. The questionnaire was inspired by Borg and Burns’ (2008) survey of teacher beliefs about teaching grammar. It was divided into 3 sections. The first section contained questions about how the participants were assessed when they were at school. The second section focused on the participants’ assessment training experiences. The third and final section covered the participants’ assessment practices. The on-line questionnaire was promoted on a number of British Council websites.
261 questionnaires were completed, with teachers from 57 different countries in all continents completing the survey. A notable result was that 74.4% of the participants disagreed with the notion that they used the same assessment techniques with their students as they had experienced from teachers in their own schooling. This result is in contrast with those of other studies (Vogt and Tsagari, 2014, Xu and Brown, 2016, Ell, Hill and Grudnoff, 2012). Nearly half (48.5%) of the questionnaire respondents stated that they had not experienced self-assessment or similar activities when they were students themselves, but stated that they used them as teachers.
The participant teachers did not, on the whole, test as they had been tested. Rather they made a conscious decision not to replicate these assessments as they were aware of the shortcomings of them. Instead, teachers used a range of assessment methods associated with assessment for learning such as self-assessment. Teaching experiences were found to be key in the development of assessment practices.
Period18 Oct 2019
Held atAsian Association Language Assessment
Event typeConference
Conference number6
LocationHanoi, Viet Nam
Degree of RecognitionInternational