Teachers’ Attitudes Toward Alternative Assessment in the English Language Foundation Program of an Omani University

  • Christopher DenmanEmail author
  • Rahma Al-Mahrooqi
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 15)


Recent reforms to education systems around the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have resulted in the increased use of alternative forms of assessment across a number of subjects, including EFL/ESL. This is certainly the case in Oman, where alternative assessment assumes an important role in both the country’s Basic Education schools and in English language foundation programs at the tertiary level. However, despite their growing importance, as of yet very few studies have examined how these forms of assessment are implemented and the challenges associated with them in an Omani context. For these reasons, the current exploratory study examined attitudes toward, and practices of, alternative assessment in an English language foundation program in Oman’s Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). In order to do this, 10 English language instructors on SQU’s Language Centre (now the Centre for Preparatory Studies) foundation program were administered a questionnaire featuring 13 open-ended questions. Results indicate that participants hold mostly positive attitudes toward alternative assessment though express a number of concerns related to cheating/copying, time requirements, and subjective marking practices. Implications of these findings for alternative assessment within the Omani and MENA context are discussed.


Alternative assessment EFL Foundation program Oman 


  1. Al Ruqeishi, M. (2015). An evaluation of alternative assessment tools used in grades 5–8 of Omani Basic Education schools as perceived by EFL teachers. In R. Al-Mahrooqi & C. J. Denman (Eds.), Issues in English education in the Arab world (pp. 192–215). Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  2. Alghamdi, A. K. (2013). Pre-service teachers’ preferred methods of assessment: A perspective from Saudi Arabia. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(4), 66–90. Scholar
  3. Al-Mahrooqi, R., & Denman, C. J. (2018). Alternative forms of assessment. In J. I. Liontas (Project editor: M. DelliCarpini, Volume editor: C. Coombe), The TESOL encyclopedia of English language teaching (1st ed.), vol. 8 (pp. 4851–4856). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Bailey, K. M. (1998). Learning about language assessment: Dilemmas, decisions, and directions. Cambridge, UK: Heinle & Heinle.Google Scholar
  5. Barlow, L., & Coombe, C. (2000). Alternative assessment acquisition in the United Arab Emirates. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED448599).Google Scholar
  6. Brown, J. B., & Hudson, T. (1998). The alternatives in language assessment. TESOL Quarterly, 32(4), 653–675. Scholar
  7. Chiriumbu, S. (2013). Using alternative assessment methods in foreign language teaching. Case study: Alternative assessment of business English for University students. Scientific Bulletin of the Politehnica University of Timişoara Transactions on Modern Languages, 12(1–2), 91–98. Retrieved from
  8. Curriculum Unit, Sultan Qaboos University. (n.d.). Foundation programme English language curriculum document. 2012–2013. Muscat, Oman: Author.Google Scholar
  9. Denman, C. J., & Al-Mahrooqi, R. (2018). General principles of assessment. In J. I. Liontas (Project editor: M. DelliCarpini, Volume editor: C. Coombe), The TESOL encyclopedia of English language teaching (1st ed.), vol. 8 (pp. 5021–5026). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  10. Dikli, S. (2003). Assessment at a distance: Traditional vs. alternative assessments. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 2(3), 13–19.Google Scholar
  11. Hamayan, E. V. (1995). Approaches to alternative assessment. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 15, 212–226. Scholar
  12. Janisch, C., Liu, X., & Akrofi, A. (2007). Implementing alternative assessment: Opportunities and obstacles. The Educational Forum, 71, 221–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Law, B., & Eckes, M. (1995). Assessment and ESL. Winnipeg, Canada: Peguis Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction. (1999). Assessment, articulation and accountability: A foreign language project. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED436978).Google Scholar
  15. Quenemoen, R. (2008). A brief history of alternative assessments based on alternative achievement standards. Minneapolis, MN: National Center on Educational Outcomes. Retrieved from
  16. Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2000). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  17. Tannenbaum, J. (1996). Practical ideas on alternative assessment for ESL students. Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED395500).Google Scholar
  18. Worley, T. M. (2001). Alternative assessment: Methods to make learning more meaningful. Savannah: College of Education, Armstrong Atlantic State University. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sultan Qaboos UniversityMuscatOman

Personalised recommendations