What do they really see when they observe? Novice teachers’ use of observation as formative assessment

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Observation has been widely recognized as a legitimate instrument in formative assessment; however, there is a serious lack of research about how this instrument is actually employed by classroom teachers especially by those in language education. To fill this lacuna, this presentation will examine novice English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) teachers’ use of observation as a formative assessment tool, drawing on on a broader qualitative multiple case study on teacher assessment literacy. The data for this paper comes from an extensive series of semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and stimulated recall with six novice EFL teachers at a Vietnamese foreign language specializing university. Preliminary thematic analysis suggests that while the participating teachers made frequent use of this valuable formative assessment instrument, their observation was predominantly incidental and often not intentionally aligned with expected learning outcomes. Drawing on these findings, the presentation ends with implications for developing teachers’ effective observation skills for formative assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventVietnam Language Assessment Symposium 2019 - British University of Vietnam, Hanoi, Vietnam
Duration: 17 Nov 2019 → …


ConferenceVietnam Language Assessment Symposium 2019
Abbreviated titleVLAS 2019
Period17/11/19 → …
Internet address


  • teacher observation
  • formative assessment
  • teacher assessment literacy
  • language assessment literacy
  • Case study
  • Qualitative analysis


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