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LINGUIST List 24.2973

Mon Jul 22 2013

Diss: Applied Linguistics: Levi: 'The Effect of Dynamic Assessment on the Performance of Students in Oral Proficiency Tests ...'

Editor for this issue: Xiyan Wang <xiyanlinguistlist.org>

Date: 21-Jul-2013
From: Tziona Levi <z_levinetvision.net.il>
Subject: The Effect of Dynamic Assessment on the Performance of Students in Oral Proficiency Tests in English as a Foreign Language
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Institution: Tel-Aviv University
Program: School of Education
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2013

Author: Tziona Levi

Dissertation Title: The Effect of Dynamic Assessment on the Performance of Students in Oral Proficiency Tests in English as a Foreign Language

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Elana Shohamy

Dissertation Abstract:

This paper explores how Dynamic Assessment (DA) affects students’
achievements of Oral Language Proficiency (OLP) in
English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) relying on the basic principle that
mediation within the assessment procedure can promote learning and that
this process can be observed in ‘real time’. Affixing DA to OLP is based on
Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theories (1934/1986) of learning as a socially
meaningful cooperative activity exploring what a student can do
in-interaction with a guiding adult portrayed as mediation. Here, DA is
applied in a large-scale test context examining whether DA mediation can be
used to ‘teach-to-the-test’ for desirable OLP results facilitating learning
with assessment. Specifically, DA effects on OLP are examined where a
mediator interacts with students, provides prompts and feedback and thus
fosters a linguistic communicative rapport to enable learning through
collaborative task accomplishment.

The study involved 73 11th graders divided into 3 groups. Two groups were
exposed to either group or individual mediation between pre- and post- OLP
tests using a cognitive tool. A follow-up test examined transcendence of
the mediated learning. Quantitative analysis compared pre- and post-test
results while qualitative grounded-theory and micro-genetic analysis were
applied to examine the nature of assistance provided.

Findings indicated enhancement of OLP achievements in both treatment groups
compared to control group for both communicative and accuracy abilities.
Qualitative exploration captured a wealth of speech functions
(student-teacher, student-student/s and teacher-student/s interactions),
enacted to communicate and perform within mediation. Thus, the findings
suggest that DA that applies a cognitive tool provides an effective means
for stimulating, noticing and reflecting on OLP performance in large-scale
testing. Findings can be explained on theoretical and practical levels
showing that DA connects OLP learning and assessment while applying
measures of modifiability and language strategies, and that academic
achievements may improve with guided cognitive and social mediation.



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