Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Investigating Iranian Efl Student's Reading Comprehension through Dynamic Assessment

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Investigating Iranian Efl Student's Reading Comprehension through Dynamic Assessment

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Dynamic Assessment (DA) has become an important trend for researchers and theorists over the past years. It's defined as a method which recognizes individual differences for instruction and embeds intervention within the assessment procedure by involving suitable forms of mediation that are sensitive to the individual's current capabilities and subsequent performance with the aim of improving learner development (Lidz&Gindis, 2003).In other words, DA differs from traditional testing in terms of the theoretical trend, the assessment procedures based on, and the interpretation of outcomes (Carney &Cioffi, 1992). It is about the relationship between testing and teaching. More particularly, DA concentrates on the assessment process as well as the product. It attempts to describe and alter the student's performance during testing by introducing material or instructions to elicit higher attainment levels (Embretson, 1987). Dynamic assessment is aimed to explore how students respond to instruction during the assessment process. Consequently, when diagnosing reading problems, the emphasis is on gathering data associated with the strategies that are utilized by the student during the reading decoding process (Carney &Cioffi, 1992). Moreover, the dynamic assessment approach to evaluating reading problems attempts to recognize the student's learning potential as defined by Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development.

Dynamic assessment is tended to explore how students respond to instruction during the assessment process. Thus, when diagnosing reading problems, the emphasis is on gathering information associated with the strategies that are utilized by the student during the reading comprehension process (Carney &Cioffi, 1992). Similarly, the dynamic assessment approach to diagnosing reading problems tries to investigate the student's learning potential as defined by Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development.

There are two general approaches to DA, both of which could be traced to the different situations in which Vygotsky introduced the Zone of Proximal Development. The first is called interactionist DA. It has its origins in Vygotsky's qualitative, interpretation of the ZPD one that foregrounds instruction-learning over evaluation. The leading support of interactionist DA is Reuven Feuerstein(Feuerstein, Rand, & Hoffman, 1988; 2003). At the heart of Feuersteins approach is the Mediated Learning Experience (MLE) - a construct mirroring Vygotsky's understanding of mediation. Another approach to DA and the one the researcher has concentrates on in this study is related to as interventionist model, which follows a quantitative approach, and it is similar to a psychometric approach. It is recently used as a pretest-mediation (intervention) - posttest experimental approach. The role of teacher is interactive, cooperating with the student to impact change in the skill being assessed (Lidz, 1987).

Traditional assessment of reading is inconsistent with current knowledge about reading and provides limited information for developing appropriate instruction. DA is an alternative to traditional assessment that involves the interaction between the examiner and student in the evaluation process. DA has characteristics that show its potential for evaluating reading disability in a way that is consistent with current knowledge in the field of reading. It also can provide information useful for developing individualized reading instruction. There are still very few studies examining the relationship between reading and dynamic assessment. A more detailed account of the students' strengths and weaknesses can be provided by using a dynamic assessment approach to assess their reading abilities. This information would lead to more effective instructional programming during remediation, resulting in improved reading abilities for the student.

The present study investigates effectiveness of dynamic assessment compared to static assessment of reading comprehension. …

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