Exploring the principles of English assessment instruments

Exploração de instrumentos de avaliação de idiomas e seus princípios

Explorando los principios de los instrumentos de evaluación del inglés

Claudio Díaz Larenas Alan Jara Díaz Yesenia Rosales Orellana María José Sanhueza Villalón About the authors


The instruments language teachers employ to assess student learning are rarely studied and they constitute a significant source of input of how learning and teaching are conceived. The aim of this research is to analyze 205 assessment instruments created by English teachers. This is an exploratory case study, in which the assessment principles of Authenticity, Validity, Fairness, Reliability and Practicality were analyzed within the context of the assessment instruments. The 205 assessment instruments were analyzed by using an analytic rubric, which considered the language assessment principles as criteria. Through the different analyses, it is possible to conclude that traditional assessment was favoured over authentic assessment and four different clusters reveal that language assessment principles manifest in different degrees in each type of instrument. Interestingly, although language learning is mainly about how people try to communicate with others, teachers are still stressing the assessment of grammar and vocabulary knowledge instead of helping students develop the skill of foreign language communication through key authentic assessment, self-assessment and peer-assessment techniques and procedures.

Language Assessment; Assessment Instruments; Assessment Principles; Teachers; English

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