Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Portfolio Assessment on Listening Comprehension of Iranian Efl Learners

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Portfolio Assessment on Listening Comprehension of Iranian Efl Learners

Article excerpt

Introduction

Since assessment plays a key role in language learning, enabling students to check their needs and their progress, it is essential to assess the students' performance via using a variety of assessment techniques. Recently with the emergence of process-oriented approach to language teaching and testing, there has been a growing interest in the application of process-oriented assessment procedure which is different from traditional procedures. New forms to language assessment such as portfolio, conferences, diaries self- or peer assessment, have been incorporated into classroom-based assessment practices especially portfolio assessment (hereafter PA). The aim of classroom portfolio is to enhance teaching and learning in a learning centered framework. It is also an excellent pedagogical tool incorporateing both assessment and teaching (Ghoorchaei, Tavakoli, & Nejad Ansari, 2010). The alternative assessments such as portfolio assessment acts as link between teachers, learners, and parents which consequently might cultivates a more humanistic and constructivist atmosphere in language learning and teaching, (Brown, 2004). Yang (2003) defines portfolio as "a compilation of student's work, which demonstrates how much effort they have put into their work, their progress and achievement in their learning, and their reflection on the materials chosen for the portfolio''. It can encase a range of materials like essays, reports, audio or video, homework, self and peer assessment (Brown, 2004). In recent years, portfolios have been utilized as an assessment instrument and as part of activities to improve students' foreign language skills. A carefully structured portfolio assessment could serve as a better tool to identify ESL students' strengths and weakness. As Nunes (2004) reports portfolios can encourage EFL students to take ownership over their own learning and to engage in active reflection on the learning process, thus creating an environment favorable for the development of learner autonomy.

Albeit earlier studies have shown that portfolio writing is helpful in enhancing students' writing, reading ,and their motivation, the impact of portfolio on listening seems to be under explored. In the case of listening comprehension, portfolio assessment might become a very important resource in order to promote real interaction between the students and the process they are developing. Via implementation of this technique, both teachers and students could achieve a much deeper recognition of the weaknesses and strengths they have in the complex process of listening. In traditional classrooms, which are prevalent in Iran, apparently the teachers as the evaluators employ traditional methods of assessment such as multiple choice test, writing compositions ,and reading tests, the evaluation is not so clear-cut (Tamjidi & Birjandi, 2010). It seems that little attempt has been done to apply new methods of assessment like portfolio. Therefore, this paper is an attempt to shed light in this area. The present study aims at investigating the impact of portfolio assessment on Iranian EFL learners' listening performance. It seems that the possible role of PA in promoting L2 learners ' motivation and listening has remained underexplored in Iranian EFL educational settings. This study might have pedagogical significance as it will contribute to and extend previous work on the portfolio. The results obtained will potentially inform instructors in teaching and employing portfolio for listening. The current paper could add a negligible piece of knowledge to the studies.

Review of the Related Literature

A growing interest in alternative assessments such as portfolios, conferencing, peer assessment ,and self-assessment stem from the fact that unlike traditional assessment which only focuses on product, alternative assessments emphasize both product and process. That's why when portfolios introduced, it gained popularity among educators. …

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