An intervention study of formative assessment in English as a foreign language writing classes in Norway

An intervention study of formative assessment in English as a foreign language writing classes in Norway

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An intervention study of formative assessment in English as a foreign language writing classes in Norway

This article reports on an intervention study that aimed to investigate transformations in formative assessment of writing in English as a foreign language (EFL) classes. Initial historical and situational analyses revealed critical tensions around teachers’, and students’, perceptions and practices of assessment, and to some extent between students’, perceptions and experiences of formative assessment of writing. The tensions laid the foundation for interventions that were planned together with the teachers and were based on the principles from portfolio assessment. These included the following changes: giving students more formative feedback, giving them the opportunity to revise their texts, encouraging them to develop writing logs and reflection statements, and engaging them in self- and peer assessment. Three EFL teachers and their three EFL classes (n=70) completed a year’,s intervention study. Data collected and analyzed using multiple methods suggests that students appreciate the changes, despite initial resistance due to the use of novel assessment practices. The teachers have improved their assessment practices by becoming more systematic and talking more about assessment. The study underlines the importance of introducing an external tool that enables teachers and students to implement and modify in order to improve teaching and learning activities. ,Keywords: Formative assessment, Writing assessment, Intervention study, Portfolio assessment, EFL, Norway

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