Assessment is a process that gives information about the students’ progress, thinking, and learning (Crooks, 2001). According to Erwin (1991), it is defined as a constant process of learning and improvement. Assessment is an approach which helps teachers to gather information and then conclude about the learners’ inner power and make inferences about the quality or success of teaching based on learners performance. It is an inseparable part of educational systems based on achievements of the learners. Assessment has” the most important influence on students’ learning” (George & Cowan, 1999, P .8). So, teachers should evaluate their students frequently. They should spend some of their class time for some type of assessment (Stiggins, 2001). Many researchers have found that alternative assessment techniques are an effective and dynamic process in evaluating learners’ educational progress.
Alternative assessment consists of procedures that facilitate the teaching process and can associate easily into daily programs of the class ( Hamayan, 1995). It is even more efficient in EFL contexts in which students can reveal what they can produce instead of memorizing and remembering (Huerta-Macias, 1995). Alternative assessment can collect data about how students can process and accomplish real-life tasks 2 One method whose use in teaching and learning has remained rare, is self-assessment. Self-assessment, as an alternative has attracted much attention in recent years with the increased attention to learner-centred curricula, needs analysis, and learner autonomy. Its potential value as an instructional tool facilitates learning and it has been a topic of many surveys. Self-assessment does not mean that students assess themselves in the form of grades. In a learner-centred pedagogy which considers learners as active participants in education and learning, the task of evaluation or assessment is given to the students. It is a process in which learners judge their abilities, performances, and qualities of learning. Self-assessment process includes all activities undertaken in the class by the students to evaluate the process of their own learning and their strengths and weaknesses to adjust the teaching-learning strategies (Black & William, 1998).
The interest in nontraditional forms of assessment has caused many European countries to use self-assessment widely because it is considered as a logical element of learner-centred education which emphasises learner independence and autonomy. The students engage in their own learning and assess their progress and then take full responsibility for it. What is obvious in using self-assessment techniques is the active participation of the learners in the learning and evaluation process. This participation brings more motivation to the learners as they see themselves to be responsible for their own learning. Self-assessment is one of the most important tools that teachers use to motivate students in learning. Teachers help them to use their own inner power which causes them to think, to engage and to achieve meaningful learning. Research has shown that using self-assessment can positively influence intrinsic motivation levels in students (Rolheiser & Ross, 1998). 3 Self-assessment results in learning improvements if teachers implement the procedure properly. Researchers will get the maximum benefit from it so that credible data about students’ learning will be provided which are mostly not available to teachers. Hence, successful formative assessment depends on active students’ involvement which enhances student motivation by providing a sense of ownership and responsibility. Engagement also increases intrinsic motivation to value performance more on competence, not on grades and rewards. Students should know about their abilities and progress, they need to know what they can do or cannot with the skills they have acquired. Without such knowledge, it would not be easy for them to learn efficiently.
In an educational system, knowing about the extent to which students can improve their own performance is also important. If they can do it, they do not depend on the opinions of teachers, and they can also make teachers aware of their individual needs. John Upshur (1975) is a scholar who used self-assessment as a factor in the improvement of second language abilities. He believed that traditional assessment shows only a small proportion of students’ ability. Thenceforth, self-evaluation can be used as a measure of the assessment of language proficiency. Other researchers have also found that it is an effective method of teaching. (Brantmeir, 2006; Little,2005; Revers,2001). Self-assessment is a reliable method for improving students’ skills and abilities (Ekbatani,2000; Nunan,1988). On the other hand, we know that anxiety plays an important role in language learning. Anxiety can interfere in all language acquisition stages: input, process, and output. Different studies that examine anxiety and language learning can provide insights into how teachers can use appropriate strategies to decrease anxiety among EFL learners. If we know about the causes and effects of language anxiety and different suitable strategies to 4 increase the students’ self-confidence, then we can lower their language anxiety that can affect their language learning. MC Donald and Boud (2003) found that when learners assess their own learning, their learning will be promoted to a high extent; so, it enhances their self-confidence.
Nowadays, learning English is a very important need. It is spoken and used in a great number of different countries all around the world. So, the increasing use of communication in English for many reasons (trade, tourism, politics, culture, sports, high tech, etc.) has led to conducting investigations on factors which can support the improvement of further learning. Investigations concerning self-assessment in language learning can determine the effect of self-assessment in proficiency testing in different language skills. This study is performed in to check the abilities of each student to improve their competence in speaking.
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