The main goal of foreign language education (FLE) to foster intercultural communicative competence implies the need to include and connect diverse learners (e.g. Council of Europe, 2001) and thereby aligns itself with key principles of inclusive education. Yet, the pursuit of communicative competence (CC) is a task that often divides rather than includes. In the German context FLE was long regarded not worth pursuing among students with special educational needs (cf. Kleinert et al. 2007; Morse 2008; Dose 2019). As a construct, CC is also multifaceted enough to display considerable individual differences between learners. In research, “good learners” have been linked with higher levels of FL success compared than to “low-achieving” or “poor” learners (e.g. Ganschow & Sparks 1995; Nunan, 1995).
Such categorizations can hardly be considered inclusive (Clough & Corbett 2000). In fact, attributing “poor” observable behavior (e.g. "does not keep a conversation going") to dispositional traits (e.g. "is a poor learner"), rather than to external factors (e.g. "does not like the task") is one of the most commonly documented biases in social perception research, called the fundamental attribution error (Ross, 1977). Errors of this sort are likely to happen when assessment takes place under uncertainty or is based on limited contact with learners, e.g. in emergency remote teaching settings. This contribution presents the results of a quantitative questionnaire study which confirms that (pre-service) FL teachers are indeed prone to the fundamental attribution error in their evaluation of FL learners and discusses implications for remote emergency assessment.
Joanna Pfingsthorn, University of Bremen, Germany
Julia Weltgen, University of Bremen, Germany
Stream: Assessment Theories & Methodologies
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