Teacher formative assessment and talk in classroom contexts: assessment as discourse and assessment of discourse

Leung, Constant; Mohan, Bernard
July 2004
Language Testing;Jul2004, Vol. 21 Issue 3, p335
Academic Journal
There is now widely recognized support for classroom-based formative teacher assessment of student performance as a pedagogically desirable approach to assessment which is capable of promoting learning. However, the highly localized and socially co-constructed nature of this type of assessment has raised conceptual and research issues that transcend the theoretical and epistemological concerns of the more established standardized language assessment. One such issue concerns the part played by classroom spoken discourse in the teaching-assessment interaction between teachers and students. This article argues that there is a need to develop theoretically informed research approaches to study how this type of assessment is accomplished through teacher-student discourse in the classroom. Using data collected in two multiethnic and multilingual elementary classrooms we present an analysis, drawing on systemic functional linguistics, to suggest an approach to empirical research and to discuss a number of teaching-learning and research methodological issues.


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