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Home Journal Index 2020-4

Assessing Young English Learners: Language Assessment Literacy of Chinese Primary School English Teachers

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Jianda Liu
Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China

Ximei Li
Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China

Numerous English training programs have sprung up in China for young learners aged between 5 and 12 as education technology companies and training schools have seen the huge commercial potential in children-oriented English courses. However, the attention given to literacy assessment in English is given scant attention, all the more surprising given the particularly onerous requirement for assessment among young language learners. This study looks at primary school English teachers’ assessment literacy through qualitative and quantitative methods. An online assessment literacy test was used to carry out a general evaluation of the participants’ theoretical base for pupil assessment. Then three teachers were observed in the classroom after they completed a placement test for English proficiency. The focus was on how they assessed students and gave feedback. A test revealed that the 65 participating teachers had only an intuitive understanding of assessment. They provided assessment according to their teaching experience, as is shown in the classroom observation. The lack of assessment education and qualifications posed formidable  obstacles to those endeavouring to become professional teachers. Assessment courses and lecturers need to be well-prepared for undergraduates who are expected to be primary school English teachers.

Young language learners, assessment literacy, primary school English teachers