Apples

The dawn of assessment literacy – exploring the conceptions of Finnish student teachers in foreign languages

Authors:
Raili Hildén, Birgitta Fröjdendahl

Keywords:
Language teacher education, Beliefs, Assessment, Foreign language teaching

Abstract:

The paper addresses Finnish student teachers’ conceptions of assessment literacy in foreign languages. Student teachers’ assessment literacy (STAL) is a focal constituent of teacher cognition and can, according to prior research, be enhanced by principled instruction (DeLuca & Klinger, 2010; Volante & Fazio, 2007). STAL is suggested to imply knowledge, practice and ethical considerations. The nature and priorities of STAL are guided by local needs. Hence, topical issues in the Finnish language education were taken into account alongside general assessment theory. The research questions targeted firstly the emergent factorial structure of STAL, and secondly, the validity of a predetermined theory-driven model in alignment with official national priorities. The data were gathered on a web-based survey to 77 students prior to the lectures, and to 65 students after the lectures. The survey consisted of 75 statements about attitudes and practices related to various domains of assessment. Mainstream inferential statistics was used to compare the pre- and post-dataset. The componential structure of STAL attitudes remained more stable than the construct of practices across the study unit. The major dimension of both measurements was Acquired confidence in assessment of multiple aspects of language ability in the classroom. The envisaged or real practices underwent a substantial transformation towards a more learner-centered architecture highlighting flexibility and communication. Of the predetermined domains, working skills and professional self-esteem seemed to be most sensitive to a short-term pedagogical intervention. The tentative results pave the way for progressive development in raising the impact of teacher education for improved assessment literacy skills.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies