Chinese secondary school teachers’ conceptions of L2 assessment: A mixed-methods study

Main Article Content

Maggie Ma
Gavin Bui

Abstract

Teacher conceptions of assessment influence their implementation of learning-focused assessment initiatives as advocated in many educational policy documents. This mixed-methods study investigated Chinese secondary school teachers’ conceptions of L2 assessment in the context of an exam-oriented educational system which emphasizes English grammar, vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. For the quantitative part of the study, survey data were collected to gauge the conceptions of assessment held by 66 senior secondary EFL teachers from six schools in Eastern China. For the qualitative part, case studies of two teachers from schools with different rankings were conducted. Quantitative results showed that the teacher participants as a group agreed most with the view that assessment is to help learning. However, there was a strong association between two factors, that is, the assessment as accurate for examination and teacher/school control factor, and the assessment as accurate for student development factor. The strong association indicated that it may be less likely for the group of teachers to adopt the formative assessment initiatives emphasizing student development as promoted in the English curriculum reform. Qualitative findings further revealed individual differences in the two case study teachers’ conceptions and practices of assessment as well as the interplay among meso-level (e.g., school factor), micro-level (e.g., student factor), and macro-level (e.g., sociocultural and policy contexts) factors in shaping the teachers’ different conceptions and practices of assessment. A situated approach has been proposed to enhance teachers’ assessment literacy.

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How to Cite
Ma, M., & Bui, G. (2021). Chinese secondary school teachers’ conceptions of L2 assessment: A mixed-methods study. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 11(3), 445-472. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2021.11.3.7
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Articles
Author Biographies

Maggie Ma, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, China

Maggie Ma, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the English Department of the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include formative assessment and second language writing. Her work has focused on metacognitive knowledge development of second language student writers, student perceptions of assessment practices in writing classrooms, and student feedback literacy.

Contact details: Department of English, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Siu Lek Yuen, Shatin, New Territories, M423B, Hong Kong (maggiema@hsu.edu.hk)

Gavin Bui, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, China

Gavin Bui, PhD, is Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at the Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. His research interests include task-based language teaching and third language learning motivation. His recent publications appeared in Language Teaching Research (2018), International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching (2019), System (2019), and Applied Linguistics Review (2020). He is Co-editor of Asian Journal of English Language Teaching.

Contact details: Department of English, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Siu Lek Yuen, Shatin, New Territories, M422A, Hong Kong (gavinbui@hsu.edu.hk)

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