Author: Chen, Wenling
Title: Improving the effectiveness of assessment as learning through an intervention
Advisors: Hu, Guangwei (ENGL)
Degree: DALS
Year: 2023
Subject: Educational tests and measurements
English language -- Study and teaching -- China
English language -- Writing -- Evaluation
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: xiii, 218 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Assessment as learning (AaL), viewing assessment activities as a part of learning and valuing self-regulated learners, has gained increasing attention in teaching and learning due to its potential in fostering self-regulated and life-long learners. While extant AaL literature, largely conducted in Anglophone contexts, rarely paid attention to issues such as a staff-student partnership in assessment, adoption of AaL in the second language writing classroom, and students’ perspectives on assessment, it is worthwhile to probe a localized implementation of partnership-oriented AaL in an English-as-a-foreign-language writing classroom in mainland China.
The present study aims at probing the effectiveness of a short and an extended assessment literacy-building interventions to promote the development of students’ assessment literacy and subject learning so as to achieve AaL. To examine whether student participants can achieve AaL through assessment literacy-building interventions, informed by previous theoretical work (i.e., zone of proximal development, formative assessment theory, and learning-oriented assessment) and empirical studies, the present study adopts a convergent exploratory mixed-methods design consisting of a quasi-experiment and a multi-case study. The study took place in a three-year private vocational college in southern China involving 109 second-year English majors from three intact classes which were instructed the Business English Writing course. These three classes were randomly assigned to be the short-intervention group (i.e. receiving a brief 50-minute intervention), extended-intervention group (i.e. receiving a one-semester intervention), and control group (i.e. receiving no intervention). In addition, five instruments were used to collect quantitative and qualitative data to determine the effectiveness of the designed interventions in promoting AaL: (1) pre- and post-test questionnaire surveys (i.e. Perceptions of Assessment questionnaire and Student Assessment Literacy questionnaire) to find out students’ perceptions of assessment and assessment literacy levels at different stages; (2) pre- and post-test writing exams to find out students’ business English writing ability at different stages; (3) stimulated recalls to find out themes emerging from participants’ learning process during interventions; (4) semi-structured interviews to find out students’ overall thoughts on their assessment practices; (5) other teaching and learning materials such as students’ writings, self-assessment, reflective forms, and teacher feedback to provide further explanations in response to research questions. All these instruments were piloted and validated prior to being used in the study. For data analysis, descriptive statistics reporting the mean and SD of students’ scores in the questionnaires, and three paired-sample t-tests were conducted to determine whether two interventional groups of students changed in attitude towards assessment after interventions. Besides, Pearson correlation analyses were run on students’ scores on the Perceptions of Assessment questionnaire and the Student Assessment Literacy questionnaire in the pre-and post-intervention surveys to find out whether there is a relationship between students’ perceptions of assessment and students’ assessment literacy levels. Furthermore, a series of 3 (short intervention vs. extended intervention vs. control) x 2 (pre-test vs. post-test) two-way ANOVAs were run on the outcome measures (i.e., perceptions of assessment, assessment literacy levels, and English writing competence) to determine the relative effectiveness of the two interventions in comparison with the control treatment. Additionally, to find out the effects of staff-student partnership on assisting students to realize AaL, a content analysis was conducted on qualitative data obtained from the stimulated recalls relating to the staff-student partnership. The findings revealed that both the short and extended assessment literacy-building interventions had the potential to enable learners to go through positive changes in their perceptions of assessment. In addition, there was a statistical correlation between students’ perceptions of assessment and students’ assessment literacy. Moreover, the extended intervention was not more effective than the short intervention regarding promoting positive changes to students’ perceptions of assessment, developing students’ assessment literacy, and enhancing subject learning.
Furthermore, assessment activities in the extended intervention that involved a staff-student partnership facilitated the participants’ achievement of AaL.
The present study extends extant AaL studies. Theoretically, the present study extends the building of the formative assessment theory which is largely based on English-speaking countries by adding the mainland China college context as a variability to the population. Additionally, the present study also provides methodological implications for researchers in the field by showing that a mixed method entailing both qualitative and quantitative data can better serve the needs of AaL studies with robustness. In terms of practical contributions, the present study demonstrates the importance of incorporating AaL in the curriculum for curriculum developers, shows the necessity of making the formative assessment a major part of assessment approaches rather than as a compliment to institutional policymakers, and emphasizes the needs for staff training programs focusing on AaL to university administrators. Additionally, the present study offers pedagogical implications to teachers and educators concerning how AaL can be implemented effectively in the classroom.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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