What is good assessment? Prospective language teachers’ conceptions of assessment

Heini Järvinen
Helsingin yliopisto
Hemajarv _arvaa_ mappi.helsinki.fi

This paper will discuss prospective language teachers’ conceptions of good assessment. A cohort of language teacher trainees were asked to answer the question: What is good assessment? (Mitä on hyvä arviointi?) in writing at the beginning of a lecture course called Evaluation and Development (Koulutuksen arviointi ja kehitys)  in January - February 2013. They were asked the same question at the end of the course. The results showed that the majority of the respondents valued ’fairness’ and ’objectivity’ above other characteristics. It seemed that the students’ answers reflected personal experiences of fair or unfair assessment somewhat more at the beginning of the course than at the end. The course contents seemed to have a ’voice’ in the final responses. The implications of the study will be discussed. Future research on assessment in teacher development might attempt to find out how the student teachers’ conceptions of assessment are reflected in teaching practice. Some of the questions to be asked are, What kind of assessment practices do we see in the classroom? Is there a connection between assessment theory and actual tests? Do student teachers’  personal experiences have an effect on their assessment practice in the classroom?

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