Junior College EFL Students Respond Better to a Formative Assessment Project Than a Paper Midterm


Replacing paper midterms with a challenging, assessment project is in line with Robinson and Ross’ ideas on measurement: “traditional skills-focused tests of EAP ability relate only weakly to learners' ability to act on such skills in authentic task conditions (1996).” The Be Our Guest Midterm Assessment Project aimed to confirm that classroom-based, formative assessment leads to more authentic measurement of communicative ability and an increase in student motivation. A 3-session lesson plan was designed and implemented in a Japanese junior college EFL setting. A group of 30, multi-level students prepared to interact with a visiting Japanese professional in English; assignments required students to listen to a presentation and respond, process relevant information, initiate further communication, reflect and report. The project structure not only proved helpful in assessing students’ grasp of communication strategies, but surveys showed that students were generally more satisfied with their performance than they were after a paper-based test. Pre-activity, many insisted that they 'can’t' because they need 'more' English. Post-task many had formed individual learning goals, wanting to use their English 'better'. Though students were all anxious about communicating with a stranger, their anxiety was largely mitigated by the collaborative structure, the predictability of assignments and the freedom to refer to previously studied, communicative strategies. References Robinson, P., & Ross, S. (1996). The development of task-based assessment in English for academic purposes programs. Applied Linguistics, 17(4), 455-476.

Author Information
Kinsella Valies, Nihon University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: IICLLHawaii2017
Stream: Alternative assessment

This paper is part of the IICLLHawaii2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon