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  • Author: Jarosław Krajka x
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L1 Use in Language Tests – Investigating Cross-Cultural Dimensions of Language Assessment

Abstract

Objective: Assessment is a crucial part of language teaching, with great effect on learners’ motivation, willingness to study and learning success. Since language assessment is rooted in local policies and cultures of learning, it seems pertinent to look at how opinions on assessment can differ depending on the country of teacher training. The purpose of the paper is to compare Polish and Turkish teacher trainees’ on L1 use and translation in testing.

Methodology: The methodology applied in the paper is a qualitative action research study, where the groups of teacher trainees from Poland and Turkey participating in a telecollaborative project were prompted for reflection on different aspects of cultural appropriacy of language assessment. The data were collected via private diaries and public discussion forums. The corpus of student reflections was subject to qualitative analysis for key concepts, recurrent themes, similarities and differences across the two countries involved in analysis.

Findings: The effect of the local setting in which language instruction is to take place on assessment beliefs and strategies is stronger than that of teacher training. The language testing procedures of the Communicative Approach vary in the two countries under consideration (Poland and Turkey) due to a differing role and status of English in the country, cultural orientations of the society, preferred learning styles and habits, country openness to the Western culture and values as well as societal expectations towards the language teacher. Despite much standardization in language teacher education, significant variation in the shape of language teaching methodology can be attributed to the effect of cultural differences.

Value Added: Telecollaboration in teacher training is promoted as an instructional technique enabling expansion of teacher trainees’ intercultural competence, intercultural communication skills, awareness of the effect of cultural differences on preferred ways of learning and teaching. The cultural appropriacy of language assessment can be achieved through filtering testing methods and techniques to adapt them to the cultural, political and social reality of target users.

Recommendations: The telecollaborative exchange as described in the present paper proves to be an effective vehicle to achieve the purpose of increasing internalization of teacher education and creating better skilled professionals. Since language teaching has become a largely multicultural and multilingual experience, it is necessary to increase teacher trainees’ awareness of cultural appropriacy of its different aspects, including assessment, throughout the teacher training programme.

Open access