An Investigation into Assessment of Young Learners Learning English as a Foreign Language: Does Practice Match the Policy?

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Recep Şahin Arslan
Meral Üçok-Atasoy


On the grounds that assessment stands for a mirror of teaching and learning practices, its value cannot be ignored in teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) programmes as all those involved in foreign language teaching in non-native settings need constant feedback about the effectiveness of their ventures. Assessment of young learners of English has been also receiving rising attention as this group of language learners at the preliminary stages of learning a foreign language differs from adult learners in nature and thereby their assessment requires great care. While there exist continuous amendments in foreign language teaching policies nationally to improve the quality of EFL teaching and its assessment, it is significant to look inside the classrooms to realize whether the actual performance reflects the ideal one. This paper, therefore, attempts to investigate the consistency between the ELT policy and EFL teachers’ in-class practices of assessment of young learners in middle schools in the Turkish context. The study was conducted at the end of the spring term of the 2017-2018 academic year with 152 EFL teachers working in middle schools in the central districts of Denizli province. Data were collected via questionnaires and teachers’ assessment documents. Results showed inconsistency between the policy and assessment practices of EFL teachers in the study: EFL teachers tended to design traditional paper and pencil tests based on language structures and vocabulary rather than the assessment of learners’ communicative competence or language skills through alternative assessment methods.             

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