- Classroom Writing Assessment and Feedback in L2 School Contexts by Icy Lee
Research shows that feedback and assessment have been hotspots in the field of second language (L2) writing, and are important drivers of what, when, and how students learn (Orsmond, Maw, Park, Gomez, & Crook, 2013), as evidenced in a great number of studies from the past few decades. Despite many theoretical and practical achievements, the two aspects of writing instruction are often treated separately within the spectrum of L2 writing research. In addition, the emphasis in L2 writing studies is placed on the tertiary context rather than the school context, resulting in an imbalance in the existing literature on L2 writing. In light of these circumstances, in her latest book Professor Icy Lee tries to break through the bottlenecks by bringing together the two essential topics in L2 school contexts.
This volume is divided into 10 chapters, each focusing on one specific theme. The introductory chapter clarifies the aim of the book and defines the two key terms (i.e., classroom writing assessment and feedback). The primary aim of the book is to "explore how classroom writing assessment and feedback can be utilized effectively to enhance student learning" (p. 24). It also attempts to facilitate L2 teachers' techniques in classroom practice and to set research directions for L2 researchers.
Chapter 2 concentrates on the purpose, theory, and practice of classroom L2 writing assessment. In light of the purposes that assessment serves, the author emphasizes the merits of Assessment for Learning (AfL) and Assessment as Learning (AaL), which are underpinned by sociocultural theories as well as the theories of metacogni-tion, self-regulation, and motivation. After that, some principles that are beneficial to effective classroom practice are discussed.
Chapter 3 and 4, respectively, look at AfL and AaL in writing. Simply put, AfL devotes itself to "the improvement of learning and teaching" (p. 55). As a subset of AfL, AaL emphasizes the significant role of learners between assessment and learning. Despite a scarcity of research, AfL and AaL have showcased their advantages over traditional assessment in some empirical studies.
Chapter 5 provides an overall view of feedback in writing. The author introduces multiple theoretical perspectives on feedback, with priority given to sociocultural theory. This is followed by a brief introduction to the types of feedback that are addressed in the subsequent chapters. [End Page 599]
Chapter 6 and 7 discuss, respectively, teacher feedback and peer feedback, specifically underscoring theoretical tenets, salient findings, and some useful tips in classroom practice. The author argues that "teacher feedback has to be sensitive to individual student needs" (p. 127) and that the value of peer feedback ought to be further emphasized since it is "an indispensable component of the classroom" (p. 153).
Chapter 8 shifts the focus to the role of portfolio assessment in L2 writing. This approach entails assessing a collection of students' work that serves as a strong indicator of students' writing performance and progress within a certain period. The author then presents some guidelines on implementing portfolio practices and conducting portfolio assessment.
Chapter 9 investigates the application of technology in assessment and feedback in L2 writing. Three tasks involving multimedia are introduced: digital storytelling, blog-based writing, and online collaborative writing. This chapter ends with an example of a newly developed online environment (Writing ePlatform) to exhibit the potential of technology for L2 writing pedagogy.
The book concludes with a chapter that touches upon the issue of teachers' assessment and feedback literacy. To heighten the efficiency of teaching and learning, the author underlines the necessity of L2 teachers' professional development.
To bridge the connection between classroom assessment and feedback and L2 writing, this book innovatively synthesizes the two topics and provides a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of related issues including AfL, AaL, teacher feedback, peer feedback, portfolio assessment, technological applications, and classroom assessment literacy. In addition, the discussion of the key issues moves from theory to research and then to practice, giving readers a sound understanding of these essential topics...