Learners are considered an important part of any teaching practice. Understanding the differences and the ways they learn is important. Such a point of view can help students become familiar with their learning tendencies and preferences.
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Therefore educational system should plan and present classes and materials which fit these tendencies and help students to have a better performance in language skills. Learners need to know what their abilities are, what their weaknesses are, how much progress they have made, and what they are able to do with the skills they have acquired. According to Saito(2003 ), the current trends in learner-centered language teaching approaches, and a growing interest in instructiveness and authenticity have led to a greater interest in expanding the use of second language self-assessment (p.1).
This technique can help learners to know how to learn. They can evaluate their language proficiency and their improvement, so they are able to be aware of their abilities, 12 strengths and weaknesses. Then the teacher can help them in the areas in which they need support. The teacher can use self-assessment as a test to involve students in the learning process, as Underhil (1987) introduced it as the easiest, cheapest, and quickest form of assessment (p.22). 2-1-1- Assessment In a broad sense, assessment is” any methods used to better understand the current knowledge that a student possesses” (Collins & Obrien, 2003, P.29). There are two kinds of assessment: summative assessment which is the assessment of learning and formative assessment that is the assessment for learning (Stiggins, 2001). Summative assessment is done at the end of a term to evaluate the total learning of the students to get grades (Spafford, Pesce, Grosser,1998). However, formative assessment takes place during a course, used as a feedback to teaching and learning process (OMalley & Pierce, 1996). It consists of checklists, conferences, self-assessment, rating scales, and focused observations (Gipps,1994).
In contrast to summative assessment in which teachers evaluate students’ achievement, formative assessment provides a chance for the learners to judge their own learning. Summative assessment gives information on how well the topics was learned; whereas, formative assessment informs teachers and learners of the achievement during the course. 2-1-2- Self-assessment The use of self-assessment, as a movement in language testing, is no longer a new concept in language ability assessment recently. In contrast with traditional assessment, it is more authentic in stimulation of meaningful communication (Brown,2001,2004). As an 13 alternative assessment options, McNamara (2000) defined it as the process by which learners are trained to evaluate their own performances (p.136). Self-assessment can help students to check their own development and judge accurately on the level of their language proficiency. (Lim,2007). It receives its theoretical rationale from the principle of autonomy in second language acquisition (Brown,2004). In his review of self-assessment studies, Heidt (1979; cited in de Bot, 1992) stated that self-assessment consists of two parts; cognitive and moral constituents. In cognitive part, learners make a judgement of their own attainments and abilities and in moral part exercise a degree of enthusiasm to be honest and independent of the results.
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