Macquarie University
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Putting assessment for learning into practice in a higher education EFL context

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posted on 2022-03-28, 22:22 authored by Edmund Michael White
In the past twenty years or so, assessment in education has become increasingly viewed as a means of guiding and improving student learning, rather than simply measuring it. The assessment for learning (AfL) movement, arising primarily from mainstream primary and secondary education in the UK, strongly advocates this formative, learning-centered view of assessment. At the level of classroom practice, AfL is comprised of a number of key procedures including: the use of effective feedback, self-and peer assessment, questioning and classroom dialogue, and the formative use of summative tests. Based on a series of classroom research projects, this thesis examines these AfL procedures in a higher education EFL context with adult students at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University. Providing the impetus, the theoretical framework, and serving as a crucial resource for this research, has been a book entitled, Assessment for Learning: Putting it into Practice (Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall & Wiliam, 2003). After an introductory chapter in which AfL theory and fundamentals are presented, the three body chapters of this thesis are comprised of a series of five reports of AfL procedures being used in various classroom and teaching contexts. Chapter 1 describes a research project centered on the issue of feedback on the first draft of student essays, and begins with a teacher self-assessment of written feedback. This is followed by a report of the impact of the feedback on student essays, and how students felt about the process. Chapter 2 focuses on the student in the assessor role, and begins in Part A with a report focused on self-assessment of class participation in a freshman English class. This is followed in Part B by examining the issue of peer assessment in a public speaking course. Chapter 3 first investigates the issue of questioning in classroom dialogue, in particular, student-generated questioning. The final research project report then examines the issue of using summative assessment for formative purposes in promoting student learning. Following Chapter 3, a conclusion draws the five AfL reports together for a more holistic view of the process of putting these AfL procedures into practice in a higher education EFL context with adult learners.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- 1. Feedback through marking -- 2. Student as assessor -- 3. Student as questioner, and assessment synergy -- Conclusion


Bibliography: pages 298-317 "January 2010 This thesis is presented for the degree of Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics"

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award



Copyright Edmund Michael White 2009. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (317 pages) illustrations (some colour)

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