Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Immediate and Delayed Effect of Dynamic Assessment on EFL Reading Ability

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

The Immediate and Delayed Effect of Dynamic Assessment on EFL Reading Ability

Article excerpt


Dynamic assessment rooted in sociolinguistic theory of Vygotsky has a long history in applied linguistics but has recently been the hot topic of EFL studies. The present study aimed at investigating the difference between applying dynamic and non-dynamic assessment of EFL reading comprehension ability and examining its immediate and delayed effect. 197 Iranian university students participated in this study. The design of the study was quasi-experimental and several t-tests were used for answering the research questions. The results of the study indicated a significant difference between dynamic and non-dynamic assessment of reading ability in favor of dynamic assessment. Also a beneficial effect of dynamic assessment for EFL readers was found and the effect didn't fade away over time. This beneficial immediate and delayed effect on EFL reading ability can have useful implications for EFL learners, teachers and testers.

Keywords: dynamic assessment, non-dynamic assessment, sociocultural theory, zone of proximal development, reading comprehension ability

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1. Introduction

Dynamic assessment (DA) in language learning, which derives from Vygotsky's (1978) idea on how child's cognition develops and applies Vygotsky's sociocultural theory into assessment, can offer new insights into assessment in the language classroom by revealing invaluable secrets about the ability of individual students and their abilities while answering each test item. The reason can be the process-oriented nature of dynamic assessment. While the results of traditional non-dynamic assessment (NDA) can only show the already existent abilities of the student, the analysis of zone of proximal development (ZPD) makes it possible to evaluate the ability of the student to learn from the interaction with a teacher or a more competent peer and predict their possible future development. Because Vygotsky's (1978) zone of proximal development suggests that different people can have the same baseline score on a static test but may differ in the extent to which they can profit from instruction. Unaided performance on static measures tells us what has already been learned or accomplished, whereas the breadth of the zone of proximal development is thought to provide prospective indications of what can be learned.

Dynamic assessment offers a wealth of development. It posits that mental activities are mediated by psychological tools. In other words different forms of cognition arise through interactions with others and internalization of such interactions. So socially mediated activities change both the world and the individuals. The preset study aims at investigating the immediate and delayed effects of DA on EFL reading comprehension ability.

2.1 Dynamic Assessment vs. Non-dynamic Assessment

At the dynamic assessment Web site, DA is defined as "an interactive approach to conducting assessments within the domains of psychology, speech/language, or education that focuses on the ability of the learner to respond to intervention." In dynamic assessment procedures, the focus is on the process rather than the products of learning. In other words, the 'dynamic' nature of this approach is based on Vygotsky's observation that a body can show what it is only in movement (Lidz and Gindis, 2003). To emphasize the fluid nature of dynamic assessment Lidz (1987, p. 4) define it as "an interaction between an examiner-as-intervener and a learner-as-active participant, which seeks to estimate the degree of modifiability of the learner and the means by which positive changes in cognitive functioning can be induced and maintained". Murphy (2011, p. 1) sees DA as "an approach to understanding and conceiving an individual in the assessment process".

DA provides information crucial for effective remediation, which is the ultimate goal of this assessment and is not provided by traditional non-dynamic tests. …

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