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Home Journal Index 2021-4

Formative Assessment in Higher Education Classrooms: Second Language Writing Learning

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Yujie Zhong
Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China


Manzhen Yang
Guangdong University of Foreign Studies South China Business College, China

 

Abstract
Although assessment for learning (AfL) has gradually become a dominant discourse in L2 writing classrooms in higher education throughout the world, in many cases, the quality of AfL implementation in real writing classrooms does not seem to be high enough to support students’ authentic writing literacy development. Therefore, using 155 EFL first-year university students’ written texts such as essays with written peer feedback, assessment sheets, reflective journals, and documents in e-portfolios as well as transcripts of interviews with four focal participants as the main data sources, this mixed-methods study seeks to investigate whether and how the implementation of AfL influences EFL students’ learning in L2 argumentative writing. The quantitative results produced from analyzing the differences between students’ writing scores before and after the intervention show that formative assessment significantly facilitates EFL students’ learning of L2 argumentative writing skills. The qualitative accounts reveal a number of benefits that the students gain in L2 writing, such as enhancement of logical thinking ability, promotion of self-regulated learning, and improvement in peer feedback quality. The study also has implications associated with assessment design for L2 writing, teachers' roles in formative assessment, and teacher development programs.


Keywords
Assessment for learning, second language writing, blended learning, feedback, portfolios