Engendering Interaction, Collaboration, and Reflection in the Design of Online Assessment in Language Learning: A Reflection from the Course Designers

Engendering Interaction, Collaboration, and Reflection in the Design of Online Assessment in Language Learning: A Reflection from the Course Designers

Yuping Wang (Griffith University, Australia) and Nian-Shing Chen (National Sun Yat-Sen University, Taiwan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2821-2.ch002


As suggested by its title, this chapter situates online assessment in language learning in complete online mode as opposed to blended learning (i.e., campus-based learning supported by online components), or traditional distance language learning with no online components. Online language learning discussed in this study has its own inherent characteristics. Typically, this type of learning features the physical separation of learners from one another and from their education providers. Consequently, without the support of sophisticated online educational technologies, the provision of interaction, collaboration, and reflection, the fundamental elements in modern education would be problematic. This chapter discusses the framework developed for the design of online assessment that engenders interaction, collaboration, and reflection, by taking advantage of advanced online educational technologies. Examples of online assessment design drawn from the assessments implemented in an online Chinese program at Griffith University, Australia, are evaluated to establish the validity of the proposed design framework. These discussions also lead to recommendations for online assessment design for online language learning.
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Background: A Framework Of Online Assessment For Language Learning

Assessment for Learning

Our basic approach to assessment in general distinguishes assessment for learning from assessment of learning. In brief, assessment of learning is often summative, focusing on the end product of learning with a judgment on the outcomes of learning (Banks, 2005; McMillan, 2004). However, assessment for learning places more emphasis on the process of learning and regards assessment as a dynamic part of the learning process and as an opportunity to promote deeper learning (Harlen, 2007). Different from the commonly held understanding of assessment for learning, which regards assessment as only formative, we argue that assessment for learning can be both summative and formative. In other words, in addition to measuring and documenting students’ performance regarding predetermined learning standards or outcomes (Banks, 2005; McMillan, 2004), as a summative assessment is generally defined, an assessment can and should still be designed in such a way that it promotes further and deeper learning by encouraging collaboration, interaction and reflection on learning, in both the process of preparation for and conducting the assessment. As such, on-going interaction, collaboration, and reflection should be the guiding principles for assessment for learning.

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