Developing a Formative Assessment Instrument for an In-service Speaking Course

  • Rezvan Rashidi PourfardEmail author
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


This chapter presents the report of a piece of action research on developing a classroom-based assessment instrument for a speaking module in an EFL context. The instrument was designed for formative assessment for a group of student teachers studying in an in-service ELT course in Iran. The study was designed to address the problems of the absence of an assessment instrument and formative assessment in an oral reproduction module. The chapter illustrates the procedure of developing an instrument and implementing it as a formative assessment tool to promote learning through teacher, self and peer assessment feedback. The chapter aims at shedding some light on the requirements and components of a classroom-based assessment instrument. It also demonstrates how the use of the instrument in the module for the learning purpose benefited the participants both as learners and teachers. The chapter aims at raising the awareness of novice teachers and test developers on the basic considerations and challenges of developing an assessment instrument; it also sheds light on impact of using different types of feedback on the participants’ learning. The chapter can inspire teacher educators about how, through loop input, the process of delivering a module can turn into learning content for student teachers. It provides the reader with the instrument components included in the appendix, too.


Speaking Assessing speaking Approaches in assessing speaking Formative assessment 


  1. Bachman, L. F. (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bachman, L. F., & Palmer, A. S. (1996). Language testing in practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bagarić, V. (2007). Defining communicative competence. Methodik, 8(1), 94–103.Google Scholar
  4. Barr, R. B., & Tagg, J. (1995). A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change, 27(6), 13–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & William, D. (2003). Assessment for learning: Putting it into practice. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Black, P., Harrison C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., & William, D. (2004). Working inside the black box: Assessment for learning in the classroom. Phi Delta Kappan, 86, 9–21. Retrieved from
  7. Black, P., & William, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80, 139–148. Retrieved from
  8. Bloom, B. S. (1968). Learning for mastery. Los Angeles, CA: University of California press.Google Scholar
  9. Brown, G. A., & Yule, G. (1983). Teaching the spoken language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Brumfit, C. J. (1984). Communicative methodology in language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bygate, M. (1987). Speaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Chappuis, S., & Chappuis, J. (2008). The best value in formative assessment. Educational Leadership, 65, 14–19. Retrieved from
  13. Clarke, S. (2005). Formative assessment in action. London: Hodder Murphy.Google Scholar
  14. Davies, A., Brown, A., Elder, C., Hill, K., Lumley, T., & McNamara, T. (1999). Dictionary of language testing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press & ULES.Google Scholar
  15. Doughill, J. (1987). Not so obvious. In L. Sheldon (Ed.), ELT textbooks and materials: Problems in evaluation and development (pp. 29–37). London: Modem English Publications and the British Council.Google Scholar
  16. Douglas, D. (2000). Assessing languages for specific purposes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Entwistle, N. J., & Entwistle, A. C. (1992). Contrasting forms of understanding for degree examinations: The student experience and its implications. Higher Education, 22, 205–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fulcher, G. (2003). Testing second language speaking. Hong Kong: Pearson Education Limited.Google Scholar
  19. Halliday, M. A. K. (1985). Spoken and written language. Geelong: Deakin University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hidri, S. (2015). Conceptions of assessment: Investigating what assessment means to secondary and university teachers. Arab Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 19–43.Google Scholar
  21. Larsen-Freeman, D., & Long, M. H. (1991). An introduction to second language acquisition research. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  22. Luoma, S. (2004). Assessing speaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nicol, D., & Macfarlane-Dick, D. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: A model and seven principles of good feedback practice. Studies in Higher Education, 31(2), 199–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Norris, J. M., Brown, J. D., Hudson, T. D., & Bonk, W. (2002). Examinee abilities and task difficulty in task-based second language performance assessment. Language Testing, 19(4), 395–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. North, B. (1991). Standardization of continuous assessment grades. In C. Alderson & B. North (Eds.), Language testing in the 1990’s (pp. 167–177). London: Modern English Publications & the British Council.Google Scholar
  26. O’Sullivan, B., & Green, A. (2011). Test taker characteristics. In L. Taylor (Ed.), Examining speaking: Research and practice in assessing second language speaking. Studies in Language Testing (Vol. 30, pp. 36–65). Cambridge: UCLES & Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Read, J. (2000). Assessing vocabulary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sadler, D. R. (1998). Formative assessment: Revisiting the territory. Assessment in Education, 5(1), 77–84. Retrieved from
  29. Sadler, D.R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science,  18, 119–144.Google Scholar
  30. Stiggins, R. J. (2007). Classroom assessment for student learning. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.Google Scholar
  31. Taras, M. (2003). To feedback or not to feedback in student self-assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 28(5), 549–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Taylor, L., & Galaczi, E. (2011). Scoring validity. In L. Taylor (Ed.), Examining speaking: Research and practice in assessing second language speaking. Studies in Language Testing (Vol. 30, pp. 171–233). Cambridge: UCLES & Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Vermunt, J. D. H. M., & van Rijswijk, F. A. W. M. (1988). Analysis and development of students’ skill in self-regulated learning. Higher Education, 17, 647–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Woodward, T. (1988). Loop-input: A new strategy for trainers. System, 16(1), 23–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ministry of EducationIsfahanIran

Personalised recommendations