The Benefits and Challenges of Holistic In-house Task-based Language Learning and Assessment

| December 24, 2010
Title
The Benefits and Challenges of Holistic In-house Task-based Language Learning and Assessment

Keywords: No Keywords

Authors
Roger Nunn & John Thurman
Petroleum Institute, Abu Dhabi &Hokaido University, Japan

Abstract
In this paper, insights from the specialized learning and assessment literature are used to outline some important challenges and the proposed solutions in one academic context in which holistic in-house tasks and rating scales that support teaching were designed. The first challenge is to ensure that the design of tasks and rating scales is not just task-based but also construct-based. (Bachman, 2002, p.470). In this respect, holistic learning and the holistic nature of academic competence are key constructs. Secondly designers need to make sure the design is fully sensitive to all aspects of their own context (context validity, Weir 2005). Thirdly, specific areas of atomistic language ability that are relevant to the course need to be identified and included. (Bachman, 2002, pp. 470-471). Yet another challenge is to provide an adequate and varied sample of task responses through a variety of procedures. Arguably the most important challenge is to make sure that in-house assessment design enhances learning. In this respect, fully involving students in their own assessment can make an important contribution. In relation to construct validity one important holistic solution is to use complex, skills-integrative and goal-oriented assessment tasks (Norris et al., 2003, p.397) that match the teaching. Other relevant solutions involve designs of tasks that are sensitive to the relationship between academic competence and task performance and the relationship between task difficulty and task performance.

[private]

Download PDF

[/private]

Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 12 Issue 4