Classroom evaluation in eFl state-sChools in GreeCe and Cyprus: towards ‘assessment literaCy’

dina tsagari
University of Cyprus

Abstract: The measurement of language skills is a widespread, if not integral practice of most language teaching programs around the world. This has resulted in the introduction of various assessment procedures carried out by teachers and used as a basis for measuring progress in a foreign language (Brindley 1997). However, we know very little about how teachers deal with assessment demands in their daily practice and the types of skills they need to cope with these demands (‘assessment literacy’). This paper discusses the nature of ‘assessment literacy’ and presents results of investigations carried out to date in the field. It also presents further research findings which illustrate the nature and practices of classroom assessment and opportunities from in-service teachers of English in public schools in Greece and Cyprus. The paper concludes by making suggestions on how teachers can successfully develop their ‘assessment literacy’.

1. Introduction
Stiggins (2001:531) first coined the phrase ‘assessment literacy’ to represent the standards of professional excellence that teachers need to attain in relation to assessment. For example, Standards of teachers’ assessment literacy (Standards for Teacher Competence in Educational Assessments of Students, 1990) specify that teachers should be skilled in:
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• choosing and developing assessment methods appropriate for instructional decisions; • using assessment results when making decisions about individual students, planning teaching, developing curriculum, and institutional improvement; • developing, using and evaluating valid student grading procedures which use student assessments; • communicating assessment results to students, educational decision makers and other concerned stakeholders. The importance of teacher literacy in Language Testing and Assessment (LTA) has been recognised lately (Hasselgreen 2008, Kaftandjieva 2008, Reckase 2008, Taylor 2009, Yin 2010). Vogt et al (forthcoming) define ‘assessment literacy’ of language teachers as the ‘ability to design, develop and critically evaluate tests, design and monitor assessment procedures, grade and score them on the basis of theoretical knowledge’. Gardner (2010) stresses that literacy in LTA for classroom purposes has taken on a new importance in educational systems on a global scale. However, Alderson (2005: 4) maintains that teachers do not possess the necessary levels of assessment literacy and stresses that “tests made by teachers are often of poor quality, and the insight they could offer into achievement, progress, strengths and weaknesses is usually very limited indeed”. Research findings from the field of general education and English as a Second Language (ESL) seem to confirm this picture: teachers’ assessment competencies have been doubted and teachers, very often, are depicted as ‘assessment illiterate’. For instance, studies depict teachers as heavy users of tests (Gullickson 1984) with superficial knowledge of test use, especially in interpreting standardized tests (Goslin 1967, Gullickson 1984). In other studies, while teachers reported using a variety of assessment methods, their most frequently used formats corresponded to those used by formal external examinations (Rogers 1991, Wilson 1998, 2000). In other cases, teachers were seen to be doing very little reflection on what was being assessed and were unaware of the assessment work of their colleagues (Black and Wiliam 1998, Harlen and Deakin-Crick 2002, 2003). Teachers are also seen to have little knowledge of assessment frameworks and adapt whatever assessment activities are in their disposal to suit their own teaching contexts (Arkoudis and O’Loughlin 2004, Breen et al 1997, Davison 2004). Other studies have yielded contradictory results depicting teachers with strong preference for informal assessment methods (Brindley 1989, Mavrommatis 1997, Stiggins and Conklin 1992). Studies also highlighted the tensions between administrative and educational purposes for the use of assessment in-

In recent discussions of teacher ‘assessment literacy’ Leung (2005: 879) observes that “teachers’ own professional knowledge about the content of (…) assessment schemes may not be taken for granted” and that further detailed research needs to be undertaken. further research needs to be undertaken for another reason too. report their learners’ language progress and achievement. Wall and Alderson 1993. the skills or language areas they choose to test. McCallum et al 1995) (see Tsagari 2011. are to help teachers use their testing time effectively. Wall and Horak 2006). their views of the role of assessment in the curriculum. studies have shown that teachers’ assessment practices vary according to teachers' experience. how EFL teachers choose and develop their classroom assessment methods. Wilson 1998. Tsagari 2009. and whether their training is sufficient has not been clearly established yet. for an extensive discussion of the research literature). collegial expectations and external reporting demands (Breen et al 1997. Rogers 1991. Rogers and Huiqin 2004. Wall 2005. Breen et al 1997. Thus. etc. 2000). As a result. Davison 2004. we know little about how familiar EFL teachers are with assessment standards such as the ones mentioned above. Breen et al. especially before their administration when teachers feel obliged to coach their students for such exams (Cheng 2005. In addition. the present study aimed at investigating the inclass assessment practices and training needs of EFL teachers in Greece and Cyprus. Cumming 2001). standardised. particularly those in teacher training programs. the purposes they have for their assessments. in-class tests) used by EFL teachers tend to mirror those of examinations (externally set. 1997. Finally. more must be learned about how teachers perceive and use LTA practices and what their training needs are. These issues actually remain largely unproblematized and unresearched. large-scale public tests). Davison 2004) or Higher Education English language programmes (Cheng. What we know so far is that classroom assessment (assessment methods and procedures used in small-scale. If educators. Against this background.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus 125 struments and state-mandated assessment policies on teacher assessment (Arkoudis and O’Loughlin 2004. . that is for determining levels of teachers’ assessment literacy in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) contexts as whatever research studies we have are either in ESL contexts (Arkoudis and O’Loughlin 2004. The number of students who study EFL and teachers who teach in these settings as well as the central role that assessment plays in the teaching and learning process in both contexts provide a much needed research context for the investigation of assessment practices and needs of EFL teachers.

and assessing learners' progress and achievement in the classroom and the levels of teachers’ training. e. 2. Piloting resulted in the deletion and/or addition of some test methods. The majority of the questionnaires (80%) were given to teachers in hard copies at conferences. results are presented as percentages. The results of the present study aspired to become a stimulus for bringing about change in the assessment procedures in the Greek and Cypriot state-school EFL contexts. In the tables that follow. in-service teacher training events and schools while 20% was sent to teachers by email.and in-service training programs for language teachers that could help them acquire the level of assessment literacy required to meet their assessment needs.126 2.3 Analysis of the data Responses to the survey questionnaire were entered into an .2 Survey questionnaire In order to begin to investigate state-school teachers’ assessment practices and training needs. a survey questionnaire was used for data collection (see Appendix). simplification of some of the terminology and the wording of certain statements and minor changes in the format of the questionnaire. serve as the basis of pre. Its design was based on the assessment practices prescribed in EFL curricula. e. in some cases the total either does not add up due to a number of missing answers (estimated at approximately 15%) or exceeds the total due to . The survey questionnaires were distributed between 2009 and 2010. It consisted of five parts and illustrated major constructs in classroom assessment.xls spreadsheet file and descriptive analysis was used to summarize the information provided by the respondents. Presidential Decrees and similar questionnaires used in some of the studies reviewed. Hasselgreen. Rogers and Huiqin 2004.1 The purpose of the study Dina Tsagari The aim of the study was to systematically investigate the extent to which EFL teachers in state schools in Greece and Cyprus are assessment literate by studying. Cheng. The study 2. the ways in which teachers create their assessment instruments for monitoring.g. recording. However. Approximately 20 minutes were required to complete the survey questionnaire which had been piloted with a small number of EFL teachers and colleagues prior to its administration. 2.g. through quantitative data and analysis. The return rate of the questionnaires was about 70%. Carlsen and Helness 2004.

All of them had a university degree (in English Language and Literature). Presentation of the results The results will be presented following the order of the various sections of the questionnaire (see Appendix). to obtain information on my students’ progress’).g. .1 Purposes of LTA The results showed that the three most common purposes for LTA (see Table 2) are student-centred (‘b. 3. MA degrees in Applied and Computational Linguistics. e. 2.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus 127 the fact that some of the teachers worked in two different types of schools (see Table 1). Table 1.9 40. instruction-based (‘c. 3. The majority of the teachers were female between the ages of 31 and 50.1 5.3 Overall. In some of the tables that follow questionnaire items receiving the highest percentage will be presented first for ease of reference. to determine the final grades for my students’).9 Cyprus 18. to plan their teaching’) and administration-based (‘g.4 The Participants Purposive sampling was employed to select EFL teachers from all types of state schools in both countries (see Table 1) to cover a variety of assessment practices and needs.3 3. which is a requirement for employment in the state school sector in both countries.5 37. Some of the teachers also had additional qualifications.0 63. the participants of the study were 443 state school EFL teachers: 353 participants from Greece and 90 participants from Cyprus.1 26. Educational Management and Literature. with more than 11 years experience on average. Distribution of sample Type of School Primary schools Junior High Schools Senior High Schools Senior Technical & Vocational High Schools Greece 40.

4 81.1 . Progress tests c. Diagnostic tests e. To motivate my students to learn e. Types of tests and ownership of tests designed What kind of tests do you use? a. To make my students work harder f.4 24. Mini-quizzes b.3 28. Diagnostic tests e. Placement tests f.6 56. Ministry) Greece 92.2 Which of these tests do Greece Cyprus you prepare yourself? a.0 1.9 62. Mini-quizzes b. Reasons for assessment Why do you assess your students? Student-centred purposes b. to place students at appropriate levels’ and its use ‘h.2 51.3 30. To plan my teaching Administration-based purposes g. in the words of Shohamy (2001).6 22.9 44.2 21. To place students at appropriate levels h.7 72. Other Greece Cyprus 71.4 2.8 36. To determine students’ final grades a.2 68.1 Dina Tsagari Cyprus 92.1 63.3 83.8 1.7 93. To prepare my students for published tests they will take in the future Instruction-based purposes c.1 67.8 72. Achievement tests d.4 47.9 10.8 41. Achievement tests d. achievement tests and mini-quizzes.g. as a ‘disciplinary tool’ (purpose ‘e’). Under ‘Other’. (see Table 3).8 79. that is as a kind of forced work. more than half of the teachers use LTA either as an external motivation for learning (purposes ‘d’ and ‘e’) or.2 92. Table 3.6 40.3 66.3 48. Interestingly. Finally a good number of teachers spend time preparing students for published tests (purpose ‘f’) even though there are no standardised tests that students need to prepare for in state schools in both countries. School. Placement tests f.5 68. etc. Other 60.4 64.2 74. to provide information to central administration’ accords with the mandates of the Ministry of Education and the administrative goals that state school teachers need to meet.1 1. To provide information to central administration (e. Progress tests c.9 37.128 Table 2. To obtain information about my students’ progress d. teachers mentioned that they provide information about students’ progress to other stakeholders beyond their immediate teaching context such as parents. The results also showed that teachers followed the mandates of the EFL curricula and Presidential Decrees in that they used and designed a variety of tests such as progress tests.8 63.8 LTA is also used ‘a.8 14.

Achievement tests G C d.6 40.8 4.9 32.7 10. Rogers and Huiqin (2004).2 25. e.4 18.9 97.7 8.3 1.1 8.4 15. Table 5. Progress tests G C c.8 0.7 4.1 Cyprus 97.9 15.9 22.6 0.0 9.9 29.3 90.4 1.5 5.8 23.6 23. What teachers in both countries test most frequently is grammar and vocabulary (see Table 5). Table 4. C: Cyprus Once 0. teachers assess a variety of language skills and elements in the tests they design for their classroom purposes.0 With regard to the types of assessment methods teachers use for the testing of their students’ reading skills. .5 94.6 5. and standardised testing methods (standardised tests designed by external bodies).: teacher-oriented assessment methods (methods designed and administered by the teachers). results on the types of teacher assessment methods are organised according to the classification used by Cheng.2 41. Diagnostic tests G C e. the results showed that teachers use a variety of methods (see Table 6).8 88.8 90. Mini-quizzes G* C* b.g.0 6. Types of skills assessed Do you assess your students’ skills in: Grammar/Vocabulary Reading Writing Listening/Speaking Greece 98.0 16.6 95.4 11. Frequency of classroom test administration How often do you use them in the school year? a.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus 129 Teachers are also busy delivering these tests throughout the school year with the most frequent being mini-quizzes and progress tests (see Table 4). Overall.3 Three times 7. student-conducted assessment methods (methods that directly involve students’ participation in the assessment process).9 0.0 38.4 Twice 3.2 7.5 42.1 3.2 Methods of LTA In this section.9 22.6 3. Placement tests G C *G: Greece.3 35.3 – More often 61.2 6.1 14.

Teachers reported using various methods for the assessment of writing.6 26. ‘multiple-choice’ and ‘True/False’ items.1 33.0 2. Editing an already written text 3g.3 53.2 However.2 35. Peer-assessment 5. teachers use standardised tests even though there is no need for them to do so.2 60..3 39. ‘fill in forms’ or using ‘interpretative items’ are favoured less.0 20. student-conducted methods are used less frequently.2 57.9 12. Student portfolio 4. Interestingly. Multiple-choice items 3a.6 72. On the other hand.1 32. etc. Published reading tests Other Greece 84.9 52. too (see Table 7). Student diary/journal Standardised testing 8.0 26.8 51.3 25. The results showed that four teacher-oriented methods are used for the assessment of speaking and listening (Table 8).7 26. especially direct items such as ‘composition/essay writing’ and ‘editing a piece of writing’ followed by indirect items such as ‘matching items’. as with reading. Ask oral questions on the reading text 3c. approximately 20% of the teachers use published reading tests even though there is no such need for them to do so.7 20.3 Dina Tsagari Cyprus 84.8 57. teachers generally make less frequent use of student-conducted methods while ‘student diaries/journals’ are used the least.7 0. Sentence completion items 3e. .130 Table 6.3 22.2 32.6 35. Interpretative items Student-conducted methods 1.2 20. Student summaries of what they read 7. especially objectively scored items such as ‘true-false’.7 6. Read text aloud 3j. with the exception of project work.8 48. Fill in forms 3f. ‘matching’. By contrast.2 77.8 57. Matching items 3h.6 52.4 79. True-false items 3d.4 82. Finally. while the more subjective items such as ‘editing an already written text’. Cloze items 3i. teacher-oriented methods are used the most. The most popular methods are teacher-oriented. Assessment methods for reading What testing and assessment methods do you use to evaluate your students’ reading skills? Teacher-oriented methods 2.2 34. Self-assessment 6. Short answer questions 3b.2 45.6 55.

8 51. Take notes 6d.3 41. Oral interviews/dialogues 3. Follow directions given orally 5. Oral presentations 6a.9 15.6 22.8 47.1 Table 8.9 44.0 12. Assessment methods for writing What testing and assessment methods do you use to evaluate your students’ writing skills? Teacher-oriented methods 1e. Retell a story after listening to a passage 4.9 38.7 56. Public speaking 7.2 74. Provide an oral description of an event or object 6g.4 48.0 21.9 70. Published writing tests Other Greece 68.6 9. Elaborating/expanding a text 1c.6 51.7 28.2 1.1 . Oral discussion with each student 6c.3 30. Published listening tests Other Greece 53.3 40.1 15. True-false items Student-conducted methods 6.5 33.3 78.1 65.0 63.7 26.9 76. Peer-assessment 4.2 31. Self-assessment 5. Answer multiple-choice items following a listening passage 6f.6 15. Student portfolio 2.3 47. Matching items 1b. Composition/essay writing 1d.6 43.6 19.4 32. Peer-assessment 8. Assessment methods for speaking and listening What testing and assessment methods do you use to evaluate your students’ speaking and listening skills? Teacher-oriented methods 1. Multiple-choice items 1a. Oral reading/Dictation 6e.0 15. Student diary/journal Standardised testing 7.6 63.6 15.2 58.1 22. Self-assessment Standardised testing 9. Prepare summaries of what is heard Student-conducted methods 2.1 26.7 17.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus 131 Table 7.0 17.6 0.7 33.8 62. Published speaking tests 10.8 Cyprus 91.2 1.8 45. Give oral directions 6b.0 37.0 Cyprus 38.9 54.2 57.9 23.4 36.3 58.4 42.1 16. Project work 3.0 2.

3 21.9 30. ‘True/False’..3 Cyprus 82.132 Dina Tsagari The most popular method among Greek teachers is ‘oral reading/dictation’ while teachers in Cyprus prefer ‘multiple-choice’ for the assessment of listening. .7 64.6 22.4 25.9 0.9 5.8 82. alternative forms of assessment such as ‘peer. Despite small differences between methods used in the two contexts (see Table 9).and self-assessment’ remain the least used methods in both contexts.3 11.6 63. Edit a piece of writing such as a sentence or a paragraph 1f. Identify grammatical error(s) in a sentence 1d.7 42.7 28. Self-assessment 3.3 67. True/False 1c. In addition.8 39. ‘sentence transformation’. Table 9.2 1. Composition or essay writing 1h. while published grammar and vocabulary tests are frequent in both contexts.9 27.3 77. ‘translation from L1 and L2 and vice-versa’ is used by one third of the teachers in Greece probably due to the requirements of the end of the year exam. Sentence completion items 1g. Interestingly. used most frequently. etc. Student portfolio 2.7 66. Assessment methods for grammar and vocabulary What testing and assessment methods do you use to evaluate your students’ grammar and vocabulary skills? Teacher-oriented methods 1b. ‘oral interviews/dialogues’ and ‘oral discussions’ with individual students are given priority.0 65.4 18. Translation from L1 to L2 and vice-versa Student-conducted methods 4.2 52. Student diary/journal Standardised testing 6.6 Student-conducted methods are used less frequently. Finally. Multiple-choice items 1a. Two times more student-conducted methods are used perhaps due to the nature of the skills examined.2 63.2 17. Sentence transformations 1e.8 24.2 74.4 65. as with the rest of the language skills. nine teacher-oriented methods are used for the assessment of grammar and vocabulary with discrete-point tasks such as ‘sentence completion’. Of all methods. Cloze items 1i. Peer-assessment 5. published tests are used for the testing of listening and speaking skills.6 44. Published grammar and vocabulary tests Other Greece 81.2 22.

2 82.4 45.2 Half of the teachers also use the internet as a source for test items or other tests.5 16.6 77. Sources for test questions/items Which of the following represents your primary source for test questions/items? c.8 36. providing correct answers.2 A small number of teachers hold private meetings with students (‘conference with students’) or use ‘letter grades’ or ‘checklists’ as a feedback mechanism during the course. As clarified under ‘Other’. Methods for providing feedback When you give feedback to your students after a test. A letter grade b. Items prepared together with other teachers f.0 32. Other published test items b. Table 10. that is.8 Cyprus 74.2 60. they correct the test in the classroom by going through individual test items.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus 133 3.2 47. Verbal feedback c.6 40. Table 11. Items found on the Internet e. Other Greece 85. Teachers’ methods for providing feedback after administering a test in class is most often presented to students in three ways: verbally. Items developed by myself d.3 18.3 68. justifying them and talking about individual errors while others simply comment on the overall performance of the class.1 2.1 2.3 Procedures of LTA Teachers use either published textbook materials as a source for test items and tasks or they develop their assessments by themselves (see Table 10).0 37.8 Cyprus 82.8 30.6 2.6 37. Other Greece 79.8 61. .4 11. Conference with student f. in the form of written comments or as total test scores (see Table 11). teachers also conduct ‘follow-up discussions’ after a test with their students. Total test score d. Checklist g. how do you do so? a.2 2. Items from published textbook materials a. Written comments e.6 82.4 84. Only a small percentage of teachers work together to develop their assessments in Greece unlike Cyprus where there seems to be more communication and sharing of assessments among teachers.

Table 13. Other Greece 78..6 2. Teacher’s Association (i. Other Greece 36.9% and 46. Regional School Advisor e.7 0. Regional Training Centres (PEK) b. External Boards h. Pedagogic Institute c.8% in Cyprus. they mainly provide ‘total test scores’ and ‘written comments’ for students’ final reports (see Table 12). However.3 3.e.3 68.2 4.g. Written comments d. Total test score b.. Teachers also said that they were offered LTA training by various institutions and organisations such as Regional Training Centres and University departments in Greece and Cyprus (see Table 13). These findings are in conformity with the directives of the Ministry of Education which requires teachers to present their feedback as total test scores while in some cases (e. i.0 Cyprus 63.7 10. had only completed a course in which testing and assessment were topics while about a third of the teachers in both countries attended a workshop in LTA. Checklist e.8 57.7% respectively.9 42. more than half of the respondents.134 Dina Tsagari The majority of teachers followed the same pattern observed for feedback.4 Training in LTA The majority of the respondents said they received training in LTA. TESOL Greece.8 Cyprus 25. etc. i. Training Institutions and Organisations Who organized this? a. primary school reports).3 2.5 20.3 16.2 33.e. A letter grade a.2 4. University Department f.8% in Greece and 67.1 34. Methods of reporting final assessment results When you give final evaluation feedback to your students.e.) g.2 18.2 3. how do you do so? c.9 2.1 7. 58.1 . Only two of the respondents said that they had completed a full course in LTA. PEKADE. Table 12.4 6. 74.4 1. there is some space for written comments on the students reports. that is.8 22. Training Organisation of Educators (OEPEK) d.

4. only one third of the teachers received training from such organisations. Interestingly. therefore. LTA is also used as an external motivation for learning. This finding is also corroborated by research in Karavas-Doukas (1996:193) who also notes that Greek EFL teachers tend “to follow an eclectic approach. Summary of the results and discussion Overall. Teachers are in favour of assessing their students’ language skills using a variety of tests such as mini-quizzes. student-oriented assessment despite the recommendations made . progress and achievement tests that they most often design themselves and deliver at frequent intervals throughout the course of the school year. This can be explained by the fact that before entering the state school system many teachers are involved with the teaching of EFL either by delivering private lessons or in private language schools that mainly prepare students for external exams. Among the above institutions and organisations were various teachers’ associations. Given also the lack of teacher training as evidenced in the results of the study.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus 135 However. it is reasonable to conclude that state school EFL teachers resort to external testing systems to meet their assessment needs. exhibiting features of both traditional and communicative approaches in their classroom practices with the former featuring much more frequently than the latter”. the results depict teachers as heavy users of tests and less so of informal. at the same time. the large numbers of students in class and the lack of facilities such as lack of equipment and sources cannot support the assessment of such skills. the impact of external exams that students take outside the state school system is present in state school assessment practices. teachers say that they assess all language skills but emphasis seems to be placed on grammar. too. is limited as the teaching practices that are favoured in state schools. Furthermore. It is. In addition. for example. the results of the study demonstrated that LTA plays a central role in EFL teaching and learning in Greece and Cyprus. to the administrative demands of the state school system and to other stakeholders such as parents. reasonable that the assessment of listening and speaking. Teachers are in favour of assessing their students’ language skills while their LTA purposes are in their majority student-centred and instruction-based but responding. teachers received LTA training from external boards. In these tests. vocabulary and writing. Some of the teachers may continue this involvement after their employment in the state school system. the Pedagogic Institute and the Training Organisation of Educators which offered LTA training but this was attended by a small number of teachers.

As a result. are among the high-ranking task types for the assessment of most skills.0 55.2 15.and peer-assessment or student portfolio.0 15.0 33. sentence completion. also favoured ‘dictation’ writing because of the influence of the guidelines of the achievement tests.6 75.136 Dina Tsagari in the EFL curricula (Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs 1999.3 58.0 62. For example.8 17.9 22.7 45.6 38. Grammar/Vocabulary G C G C G C G C Teacher-oriented Student-conducted Standardised methods methods testing 53.. As mentioned earlier.6 46. and ‘translation’ techniques due to the requirements of the English paper included in the university entrance exam (called ‘Panhellenic Exams’ in Greece). Such a tendency can be attributed to either lack of teacher training in LTA or the influence of private language schools where preparation for external exams is a frequent practice given that the majority of state school teachers have worked for a number of years in such educational contexts before being employed in state schools. 2003) and decrees (Presidential Decree 4230 1996) (see Table 14).2 Teachers favour the use of teacher-oriented assessment methods in both countries.5 57. such as self.6 35.1 37.3 26. A number of teachers in Greece. etc. In summary. student-constructed assessments. On the other hand.0 37. multiple choice. teachers also used samples of external exams for their in-class assessment. in particular. Average use of assessment methods across language skills Language Skills a. in both countries teacher-oriented methods were used the most (see Table 15). sentence transformation.7 20.6 22. Writing c.0 20.8 26.8 28. An exception here is that teachers prefer student-conducted methods slightly more for the assessment of listening and speaking. are used to a lesser extent. teachers mainly employ summative assessment as opposed to formative or diagnostic assessment for their in-class assessment.0 21. This runs contrary to the educational policy described in the official documents . objectively scored items such as T/F. Reading b. Listening/Speaking d. Table 14. perhaps due to the nature of the skills tested.

For example.4 20 25. that teachers use quite extensively (see also Tsagari 2007). these survey findings helped in exploring how the participating EFL teachers experienced their roles as ‘assessors’ of student work. are verbal feedback and written comments while their end-of-course assessment feedback mechanisms takes the form of a structured report.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus 137 that recommend the use of a variety of student-oriented methods for classroom assessment (Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs 1999. generally. This does not come as a surprise as textbooks are. are not accustomed to reviewing the assessment questions or tasks they use for their in-class assessments and do not discuss them critically with peers. The results also illustrate some of the complexity of assessment and evaluation practices in EFL courses in the two countries. accompanied by test booklets. their training was not extensive. very often. Overall use of assessment methods across language skills Average Greece Cyprus Teacher-oriented Student-conducted Standardised methods methods testing 51. LTA training mostly limited itself in the form of topics included in courses or workshops that have limited duration.g. do not receive high quality overall professional development opportunities (Karavas 2008). The research results also showed that teachers. especially in the Greek context.6 Furthermore. as suggested in the official documents. rather than a combination of qualitative and quantitative feedback. test booklets) for their assessments. the study showed that assessment and evaluation in the present contexts of inquiry are a necessary but complex undertaking reflecting . In addition.2 60 26 35. teachers appear to be reliant on available print sources (e. This finding is also in agreement with other research findings that show that state school teachers. They revealed that progress toward an assessment-literate culture has been rather slow and that EFL teachers in the Greek and Cypriot contexts need to acquire higher degrees of assessment literacy. the results showed that the teachers participating in the study are not sufficiently trained in LTA. However. teachers’ favourite methods for providing feedback after an assessment event. that is total test scores. Table 15. As a consequence teachers under study do very little reflection on what is being assessed and are unaware of the assessment work of their colleagues. Taken together. 2003). In addition to the above. Only half of them received training in areas of LTA.

5. international standardised language exams. responded the way they did so as not to lose face.138 Dina Tsagari the nature of the teaching and learning environment where assessment takes place. In addition. there is the potential that not all teachers interpreted the survey questions in the same fashion or. In the case of the Cypriot teachers we have to mention that the results may be slightly inflated due to the smaller number of teachers compared to the larger number of their Greek colleagues. parents These factors seem to have collectively contributed to the preferences in the choice of assessment types used by the EFL teachers in the study. teaching resources) External factors: • Mandated assessment policies (Ministry of Education through Presidential Decrees) • Impact of external testing (e.g. . school advisors and inspectors and • Samples of teachers’ tests and other official documents. The tendencies in assessment and evaluation practices observed in this study seem to have been influenced by the interplay of the following internal and external factors: Internal factors: • • • • Teachers’ instructional beliefs and attitudes Teachers’ views of the role of assessment Students’ learning and assessment needs Teaching and learning environment (size of the classes. Limitations The findings described above are based on EFL instructors’ self-reports of their own assessment practices and attitudes as these are elicited through a survey questionnaire. many of the Cypriot participants work on a temporary basis in the private sector where they could have more freedom to use a variety of assessment tools. As with any such survey. e. In an attempt to confirm the findings of the present study and to gain a better understanding as to why the teachers implement assessment in the ways that they do. perhaps. university entrance exams) • Involvement of other stakeholders.g. the following data are now being collected: • Follow-up interviews with teachers.

training initiatives need to be implemented through the production of assessment training booklets (with samples of good practice in LTA). on-the-job experience in developing and using assessment tools as well as on scoring and reporting meaningful assessment results should be a vital component of such activities. to build their confidence and maximize their achievement (Stiggins 2001). then teachers will learn to share their assessment practice and expand on their notions of assessment literacy (Newfield 2007). Such courses and workshops need to involve policy and decision makers and capitalise on teachers’ existing experience and practices and take into account results of assessment needs analysis such as the ones reported in this study.C. In addition. EFL teachers in Greece and Cyprus need to become assessment literate and learn. Attendance of pre. An assessment literacy development strategy could. Such projects need to involve students in classroom assessment processes.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus 139 6. Such booklets could also be accompanied by samples of student performance (e. there are a good number of minor academic journals for teachers and associations for English teachers. London / New York: Continuum. to conduct good quality assessments. formal LTA courses (BA and MA level) can expose teachers not only to new ideas but help them to meet their professional assessment needs and emerging assessment responsibilities. training courses need to involve teachers in collaborative assessment projects in which teachers. b). J. short video-clips of oral assessment incidents) that can foster multiple interpretations of and develop teachers’ assessment skills. rely on a combination of the following in varying proportions. These can be used for pre-service training as well as for in-service courses. Diagnosing Foreign Language Proficiency: The Interface between Learning and Assessment. the reality and constraints influencing teachers' assessment practices and encourage a research orientation to professional development that combines theories with practice in the classroom. teacher trainers and professional testers work together (Shohamy 1992.g. References Alderson. through appropriately-targeted professional development. If teachers are invited to make presentations for these associations or write up their classroom experience (and research) for these journals. Furthermore. despite minor differences. Stiggins 1999a. . They also need to recognise. First of all. and deal with. Finally.and in-service LTA workshops (of appropriate length) are equally important. Recommendations for promoting assessment literacy The findings of the present research project showed that. for example. Therefore. (2005). too.

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Professional qualifications: (1) BA in English Language and Literature o (2) MA in ____________________________________________ (3) Other: ________________________________________________ 5. Based on the findings. Years of teaching experience: (1) 0–1 o (2) 2–5 o (3) 6–10 o (4) 11+ o 4. Current (main) teaching situation: (1) State Primary School o (2) State Secondary School (Gymnasium) o (3) Secondary School (General Lyceum) o (4) Secondary level (Technical & Vocational Lyceum) o (5) Other: __________________________________________________o . Biographical information Please tick  your answers unless otherwise stated. Gender: (1) Male (2) Female o o (3) 41–50 (4) 51+ o o o o 3. we would like to kindly ask you to fill in the following questionnaire. we will have a clearer picture of your testing and assesment needs and be in a better position to propose training courses for pre-service and in-service training programmes that can meet the needs identified.144 Appendix Dina Tsagari Survey on Practices and Training Needs of EFL Teachers in Language Testing and Assessment In order to determine the LTA practices and needs of Greek EFL teachers. Age: (1) 21–30 (2) 31–40 2. 1. Thank you for your co-operation! A.

a) Mini-quizzes o b) Progress tests o c) Achievement tests (end of the term/year) o d) Diagnostic tests o e) Placement tests o f) Other: ______________________________________ 4. please give reasons why: ________________________________________________________________ 2. Progress tests c. Purposes of LTA 1. What kind of tests do you use? Please tick () all that apply. Mini-quizes b. Ministry) o i) Other: _______________________________________ 3. Why do you assess your students? Please tick () all that apply. Achievement tests d. a) Mini-quizzes o b) Progress tests o c) Achievement tests o d) Diagnostic tests o e) Placement tests o f) Other: ______________________________________ 5.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus 145 B. Other: o o o o o o Twice o o o o o o Three times o o o o o o More often o o o o o o . Once a. Which of these tests do you prepare yourself? Please tick () all that apply. School. Do you assess your students’ language skills at your school? (1) YES (2) NO q q If no. How often do you use them in the school year? Please check () all that apply. a) To place students at appropriate levels o b) To obtain information about my students’ progress o c) To plan my teaching o d) To motivate my students to learn o e) To make my students work harder o f) To prepare my students for published tests they will take in the future o g) To determine students’ final grades o h) To provide information to central administration (e. Placement tests f. Diagnostic tests e.g.

Tick () the method/s you use to evaluate your students in writing.g. Methods of LTA Dina Tsagari What assessment methods do you use to evaluate your students? a. please put a tick () here o and continue below 2. Teacher-made tests containing: a) matching items b) true-false items c) multiple-choice items to identify grammatical error(s) in a sentence d) elaborating/expanding a text e) composition or essay writing 2. If you do. Student diary/journal 5. 1. Self-assessment 8. Published writing tests 8. Writing 1. Teacher-made tests containing: a) cloze items b) sentence completion items c) true-false items d) matching items e) multiple-choice items f) interpretative items (e. If you do not test writing. Student portfolio 6. 1. If you do. Self-assessment 5. Other? Please specify here: b. read a passage & interpret a map or a set of directions) g) fill in forms (e. 0. Reading 1.146 C. please put a tick () here o and move to the next section. Other? Please specify here: o o o o o o o o o o o . 1. Student portfolio 6.g. please put a tick () here o and continue below 2. read a passage and fill in an application form or an order form of some kind) o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o h) short answer items i) editing an already written text j) write summary of the text 4. please put a tick () here o and move to the next section. Ask oral questions on the reading text 3. If you do not test reading. Published reading tests 9. 1. Project work 7. Student diary/journal 3. 0. Read text aloud 2. Tick () the method/s you use to evaluate your students in reading. Peer-assessment 4. Peer-assessment 7.

1. Oral reading/dictation o 2. Peer-assessment o 4. Self-assessment o 9. If you do. Grammar and vocabulary 1. Public speaking o 6. Other? Please speficy here: . Published listening test o 11. Peer-assessment o 8. Student diary/journal o 3. If you do. please put a tick () here o and continue below 2. 1. Teacher-made tests containing: a) cloze items o b) sentence completion items o c) multiple-choice items o d) sentence transformations o e) True/False o f) translation from L1 to L2 and vice-versa o g) identify grammatical error(s) in a sentence o h) editing a piece of writing such as a sentence or a paragraph o i) composition or essay writing o 2. Published speaking test o 10. Tick () the method/s you use to evaluate your students in grammar and vocabulary. 1. Speaking and listening 1. 0. Oral discussion with each student o 4. If you do not test grammar and vocabulary. Oral presentations o 5. Oral interviews/dialogues o 3.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus 147 c. please put a tick () here o and move to the next section. Other? Please speficy here: d. Student portfolio o 6. Published grammar/vocabulary tests o 7. Teacher made tests requiring students to: a) give oral directions o b) follow directions given orally o c) provide an oral description of an event or object o d) prepare summaries of what is heard o e) answer multiple-choice test items following a listening passage o f) take notes o g) retell a story after listening to a passage o 7. 0. please put a tick () here o and move to the next section. Tick () the method/s you use to evaluate your students in speaking and listening. Self-assessment o 5. please put a tick () here o and continue below 2. 1. If you do not test speaking and listening.

Verbal feedback o b. have you learned something about LTA (theory and practice)? 0. o c. Conference with student o e. Yes. Total test score o d. Items developed by myself o b. how do you do so? a. If ‘yes’ above. During your pre-service or in-service teacher training. Total test score o f. A letter grade o g. o 3. When you give final evaluation feedback to your students. Training Organisation of Educators (OEPEK) o . When you give feedback to your students after a test. Items prepared together with other teachers o c. Items found on the Internet o e. Training in LTA 1. Checklist o b. Other (please specify): ______________________________________ 3. I have completed a course where testing and assessment were topics. a. A letter grade o e. Regional Training Centres (PEK) o b. Checklist o c. No o 1. how do you do so? a. Which of the following represents your primary source(s) for test questions/items and other assessment procedures? a. Yes o 2. Yes. 1. Written comments o c. Other (please specify): _____________________________________ E. Other (please specify):_________________________________________ 2. Items from published textbook materials o d. Written comments o d. Yes. I have completed a workshop on testing and assessment. Other published test items o f.148 D. I have completed a full course on testing and assessment. please tick () all that apply. Procedures of LTA Dina Tsagari Please tick () all that apply. o b. If ‘yes’ above. Pedagogical Institute o c. who organised this? Please give details: a.

TESOL Greece or M-T. Teachers’ Association (e.Classroom evaluation in EFL state-schools in Greece and Cyprus d. Other: _____________________________________________________ 149 If you have any further comments you wish to make in relation to EFL testing and assessment in state school education. please use the space below: ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ If you are interested in receiving the results of the survey please submit your e-mail address: Thank you! . etc) o (please specify:______________________________________________) g. Regional School Advisor o e. PEKADE. University Department o (please specify:________________________ ) f.g. External body o (please specify:_______________________________) h.

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