This paper addresses assessment in language education. It begins by setting out a number of approaches such as those discussed by Hamp-Lyons (2016), who argues for learner-oriented and learning-centred assessments to better reflect what learners do in class and Lee (2015:309) who also believes that consideration should be given to assessments that, "identify the gap between the learners' current states of knowledge/skills and their targeted learning goals (or norms)".
In addition to setting out the claims in this literature, I also test to what extent the principles they espouse are consistent with assessment practice in the Language Centres that the University of Nottingham operates on its 3 campuses - in the UK, in China and in Malaysia. All three campuses offer elective language modules and each Language Centre has its own assessment model, which I will explain in the paper with reference to all 6 stages of delivery. In the UK case, campus-based assessments for Stages 1-3 include reading comprehensions, grammar sections and essay tasks. In the case of Stage 4-6, these are integrated tasks that focus on more than one skill, such as using simple pictures as essay stimulus, a telephone test (which combines the skills of speaking, listening and translation), translation tasks and so on. In China and Malaysia on the other hand, there is much greater emphasis on the use of online assessment using tools such as Rōgo.
I will argue that particularly in the UK context, there is currently a considerable mismatch between the classroom practice and the tasks used to assess student performance employed by staff. To ensure much closer alignment between the two and greater consistency with the principles set out by the likes of Hamp-Lyons (2016) and Lee (2015), this paper explores a new, innovative type of assessment we are implementing in Stages 1-3 based on authentic tasks that connect to students' everyday lives that is more appropriate to the learning outcomes of the modules and teaching practice in the classroom.
- Cummins, Patricia W., and Céline Davesne. "Using Electronic Portfolios for Second Language Assessment." Modern Language Journal, vol. 93, 2009, pp. 848–867.
- Green, Anthony. Exploring Language Assessment and Testing Language in Action. Routledge, 2014.
- Lee, Yong-Won. "Diagnosing Diagnostic Language Assessment." Language Testing, vol. 32, no. 3, 2015, pp. 299–316.
- Liz Hamp-Lyons. "Purposes of assessment". Tsagari, Dina, and Jayanti Banerjee. Handbook of Second Language Assessment. De Gruyter Mouton, 2016, pp.13-27.
Mikiko Kurose is a Teaching Associate at the University of Nottingham, where she teaches Japanese from beginners to intermediate level. She previously taught Japanese up to A-level in a state secondary school for thirteen years, before moving into higher education. She has also worked as a translator and interpreter. She proofread and advised on Helen Gilhooly's 'Teach Yourself Japanese' series, and was one of the voice actors for the 'Michel Thomas Method Japanese' series. Her research interests include technology integration and enhancement in language teaching and learning, and the benefits of CEFR in teaching and assessment.