Alternative Assessments and EFL Learner Autonomy

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

University of Tabriz

Abstract

Alternative assessments have evolved from an epistemological change in education. They see assessment and instruction as two sides on the same coin which go hand in hand. The traditional roles of both teachers and learners are, consequently, modified which is essential for better language development. In this line, the present study aimed at comparing the effects of portfolio and journal writing assessment on EFL learners’ autonomy. The study followed a quasi-experimental design with two study groups having a pre-test, treatment, post-test format. To this end, 39 EFL learners whose scores on PET test were one standard deviation above and below the mean were selected for the groups which were then randomly assigned for two treatment types, namely portfolio assessment (PA) and journal writing assessment (JWA). The groups’ autonomy levels were compared by one-way ANCOVA, the results of which did not reveal any significant difference in the positive effects of these two common alternative assessments. It was inferred that language teachers can take the advantage of any or both of these alternative assessment types to improve their learners’ autonomy and make them lifelong language learners. The great role of autonomy in language learning and further pedagogical implications for the findings for language learners, teachers, and curriculum developers are discussed in the paper. 

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