Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Formative Assessment: A 20th Century Relic or a 21st Century Solution?

Mateja Prevodnik Mayland, Gimnazija Škofja Loka (Slovenia)


The paper presents some practical cases of application of principles and methods of formative assessment in teaching in general and more specifically in teaching English Essay in grammar schools. The aim is to monitor student learning by providing ongoing feedback which makes not only teaching but also learning more effective,  structured and focused on problem-solving. It helps students as well as teachers identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that could do with improvement. Peer assessment, which is presented as an example, is intended for both peer evaluation and self-evaluation, as students can apply the same technique for their own essays; with it students receive double feedback. Students are thus not only in the role of the author but also the assessor and can later transfer their experience to their own work. Although the peer assessment of essays in the form of a handout/questionnaire is designed for a group of students, the support they receive is tailored. The emphasis is on the feedback which is not in the form of grades or points yet it is very precise, specific and clear. As a result, students who do utilise their feedback comments improve in the areas previously criticised, the reasons for engagement or non-engagement become apparent, they develop self-perception of their ability and potential as writers. This method also involves students in self-reflection of learning which they can apply to any subject at any stage of their education process. The paper argues that formative assessment should have a stronger role in our education system since it provides immediate feedback to students, informs them of their progress in a constructive and stress-free manner and in the case of essay writing – enhances students’ writing performance. In conclusion, formative assessment allows students and teachers to obtain a more detailed understanding of the students’ work so that summative assessment can confirm the improved results.

Keywords: formative assessment, English essay, peer assessment.

[1] Black, P., Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: raising standards through classroom assessment (London, King's College London School of Education)
[2] Holcer Brunauer, A. ...(et al.) (2016). Formativno spremljanje v podporo učenju (Zavod Republike Slovenije za šolstvo)
[3] Richard J. Stiggins (et al.) (2004) Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing It Right — Using It Well (Portland, Ore.: Assessment Training Institute)

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