Classroom assessment

Authored by: Carolyn E. Turner

The Routledge Handbook of Language Testing

Print publication date:  March  2012
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415570633
eBook ISBN: 9780203181287
Adobe ISBN: 9781136590863


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For a long time classroom-based assessment (CBA, i.e., assessment internal to the classroom and managed by the teacher) was only viewed as an offshoot of traditional large-scale testing (i.e., assessment external to the classroom such as school board exams, standardized international exams). This was reflected in the language testing literature, in the conference presentations concerning language testing and even in the language testing textbooks available to teachers. In other words it was taken for granted that the types/tasks of testing and the interpretation/use/reporting of results employed in large-scale testing also applied to classroom assessment. The field of language testing/assessment is evolving and is beginning to see the importance and uniqueness of the classroom learning context and the teacher factor in interpreting the true role of assessment in classroom settings (i.e., to provide information to help inform teaching and learning). In the 1990s, textbooks for pre-service and in-service teachers began to appear that considered CBA as a unique paradigm (e.g., Genesee and Upshur, 1996) and as time passed, research in such settings began creeping into the language testing literature (e.g., Leung, 2004; Rea-Dickins, 2006). Well-known language testing resources online also began to include references to CBA (Fulcher, 2010a). The assessment focusing on teaching and learning has increasingly become of interest to the research world (both in general education and more specifically in language education for the purposes of this chapter) and the teacher’s role has been the focus. A research agenda separate from the paradigm of traditional large-scale testing remains to be identified, but a consensus is growing that more research is needed and that the “theorization” of CBA (Davison and Leung, 2009) is overdue.

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