Exploring How ELT Teachers Perceive and Practice English Language Assessment
As a well-designed language education program naturally requires a well-designed assessment component, the pivotal role of assessment in language education needs to be stressed. This study focuses on how English language teaching (ELT) teachers receive training in English language assessment, and how they perceive and practice assessment in Turkey. The study was conducted with the participation of 198 ELT teachers from 24 K-12 level schools and eight universities. A mixed-methods research design was chosen and the data were collected through a questionnaire, follow-up interviews, observations, personal conversations, and sample exam evaluations. The findings indicated that the assessment practices of the teachers were shaped by the teachers’ language learning and teaching experiences, their intuition, adherence to assessment traditions, and the emulation of what other teachers conducted to conform to group norms. It was also observed that as the teachers did not receive proper pre-service and in-service assessment training, their assessment knowledge was low. Moreover, it was found that the assessment component of teacher training programs remained peripheral and did not help equip teachers with assessment-related theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Finally, the assessment quality in these schools was found to be low and assessment was taken as a formal requirement to grade students. In the final part of the paper, some suggestions for effective assessment are put forward.
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