What teachers think about when they think about assessment

Sheehan, S. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This project investigated teacher cognition and assessment. The adoption of framework which has not been commonly applied to assessment, Borg’s 2015 Language Teacher Cognition Framework, meant that new a perspective was brought to classroom assessment practices and language assessment literacy. 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.” We sought to understand how teachers develop their cognitions and how these cognitions influence classroom assessment practice. We wanted to provide a counter-balance to studies which have focussed on presumed gaps in teachers’ knowledge of assessment (e.g. Fulcher, 2012, Vogt and Tsagari, 2014). Teachers’ cognitions 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’ cognitions may help to better understand the factors which promote or prevent effective assessment and our understanding of language assessment literacy. A qualitative approach was adopted and methods used included questionnaire, interview and observation with follow-up interview. 261 questionnaires were completed by teachers based in five continents. Five classroom observations were conducted, with a follow up interview with the teacher after each observation. The observations focussed on classroom-based assessment practices. The results were very different from those which our review of the literature had led us to expect. This confirmed the utility of adopting a new framework to understand the issue of language assessment literacy.
Period15 Jun 2021
Event title42nd Language Testing Research Colloquium: Assessment in Multilingual contexts: models, practices, policies & challenges
Event typeConference
Conference number42
Degree of RecognitionInternational