Learner-Directed Assessment in ESL

By Gayol Ekbatani; Herbert Pierson | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Moving Toward Learner-Directed Assessment

Glayol Ekbatani St. John's University

As the implementation of the learner-centered English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum remains a primary goal for the majority of ESL training institutions and in the ESL classroom itself ( Nunan, 1988), many practitioners and assessment specialists have, in recent years, sought ways to encourage the active involvement of learners in the process of language assessment. Nunan ( 1988) argued that "in a learner-centered curriculum model both teachers and learners need to be involved in evaluation" (p. 116). Dickinson ( 1987)reported on the importance of the student's involvement in assessment in a student-centered curriculum. Presenting a detailed chart on various phases of self-instruction, he illustrated how successful learner-centered instruction entails learners undertaking responsibility for their learning, and how achievement of responsibility for learning entails learners' involvement in assessment. Le Blanc and Painchaud ( 1985) stated that "being part of the completed learning cycle should imply being involved in the assessment process, since evaluation is now recognized as a component in the educational process" (p. 73). Similar in scope to the leaner-centered curriculum, learner-directed assessment (a) provides the learner with the necessary tools and guidance for self-assessment, (b) investigates the strategies test-takers use in responding to test questions, and most importantly, (c) relies on a process-oriented approach to assessment rather than a single testing instrument.

Nevertheless, despite the considerable emphasis placed on student inclusion in the process of assessment, test development in most educational

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