English Language Assessment Practice in Vietnam: Interplay between Macro and Micro Context

Quynh Thi Ngoc Nguyen, Susan Sheehan, Chi Thi Nguyen, Hoa Quynh Nguyen, Thao Thi Phuong Nguyen, Thuy Thai, Yen Thi Quynh Nguyen, Hien Thi Thu Tran, Sao Bui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context has been recognized to exert a significant influence on language policy and planning (e.g., Cross, 2009; Gorsuch, 2000; Köksal & Şahin, 2012) as well as on teachers’ decisions in the field of English language teaching and assessment (e.g., Fulmer et al., 2015; Shulman & Shulman, 2004). However, research on the interface among various contextual factors seems to receive limited attention. In the hope of contributing to the literature on context-related research and understanding the current landscape of English language assessment practice in Vietnam, this paper aims to look into the interaction between the macro (i.e., nationwide English language assessment policies and provision) and micro (i.e., institutional conditions and practice) context of the current practice. In-depth interviews with ministry specialists of education, institution or organization managers and leaders were employed in order to satisfy this aim. The interview data reveal the effect of the two contextual levels on each other, yet not all of the effect is positive. On the one hand, the macro contextual level potentially enables more consistent quality management at both national and institutional scale and more professional training for teachers who are believed, with higher assessment literacy, to improve their assessment practice accordingly. On the other hand, the micro contextual level apparently hinders the macro level on account of its limited resources and of teachers with diverse language and assessment competence. These findings serve as a basis for further discussion on how to address possible tensions among contextual factors so that beneficial effect can be magnified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-167
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2023

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