The Impact of Testing and Assessment on Foreign Language Learner Engagement: Voices from EFL Instructors


Hınız G., Yavuz A.

Lisansüstü Öğretmen Çalışmaları Kongresi (LOCK) /, Balıkesir, Turkey, 25 - 28 May 2023, pp.175

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Balıkesir
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.175
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

Student engagement is a predictor of academic success and psychological wellbeing. It is a multifaceted and multidimensional construct that interacts with several variables. One of the factors that might influence foreign language learner engagement is testing and assessment because tests can affect how students perceive their learning, how teachers deliver instruction and even the materials and policies used in language education. However, there is inadequate research on the potential link between foreign language student engagement and assessment. This instrumental case study explored the impact of testing and assessment on foreign language learner engagement from the perspectives of a group of EFL instructors. Data were collected using multiple qualitative sources and analysed using a relativist form of reflexive thematic analysis. Results suggest that formative and continuous assessment positively impact student engagement by promoting active learning and authentic engagement with the target language and learning tasks. In contrast, standardised exams were perceived as a barrier that creates a challenge to engage students in authentic language skills, forcing students and teachers to focus more on achieving exam success. Participants reported that students developed misperceptions about foreign language learning due to their past learning experiences and habits in high school, influenced by exam-driven curricula. This study highlights the need to create formative assessment practices that promote student engagement and active learning. The study also revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic provided opportunities for instructors to enhance student engagement by using tasks and other alternative methods to assess student learning. The findings offer practical implications for educators and researchers in promoting student engagement through formative and continuous assessment.