Addressing the assessment dilemma of additional language learners through dynamic assessment

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    Many learners with an additional language (AL) as their language of learning and teaching (LoLT) have not acquired the level of proficiency required for them to demonstrate their knowledge and achieve the desired outcome on assessment tasks given in that language. Using instruments designed for fully fluent learners and covertly including proficiency in the AL when assessing them academically or clinically, is inequitable and certainly yields invalid results. The notion of language of learning, teaching and assessment (LoLTA) should replace LoLT to represent the dilemma more accurately. This paper reports on empirical research in Nigeria using curriculum-based dynamic assessment (CDA) as an alternative method of assessment of AL learners in mainstream education. The study aimed to determine the influence of the CDA procedure on the performance and affect of AL learners. Eight learners in Grade 8 selected from two schools participated in a process of debriefing and mediation during three continuous assessment cycles and the end-of-term examination in Business Studies and Integrated Science. The assessments were mediational in nature as they contained linguistic adaptations of the questions and incorporated a glossary of assessment terms. The results suggest a generally positive influence of CDA, although to varying degrees, on participants’ performance and affect. The school context also has a crucial influence on these two aspects.