Essays in Education


The paper aims at bringing out some of the intricacies and delicate issues related to language assessment in a discussion that places language learning in an educational context. The paper will include a study that has been carried out on the learning of English as a second language and the means of assessing English language proficiency among a group of first-year university Chinese students. Data were collected through interviews. The study highlights relationships among the espoused aims of the institution, the philosophy of the teaching and the aspiration of students as well as the resultant interactive forces that have given momentum in the search for an appropriate mechanism for assessment. In the discussion, two key management concepts are explored: 'accountability' and 'responsibility'. The two concepts are examined with a view to clarifying the role of language educators in a specific context, such as the one in the study of the paper. Although it is language learning oriented, the paper has wider implications for assessment in education.

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