EFL university teachers’ perceptions of writing assessment training
Assessment literacy is a term that has arisen from the worldwide constant use of assessment data and the need to help teachers understand and apply assessment procedures in their language classrooms (Malone, 2013; Inbar-Lourie, 2013). It involves the theoretical knowledge of assessment, its principles and the know-how-to (Fulcher, 2012) apply them in each specific context. Specifically, the assessment of writing remains a difficult activity that English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Mexican teachers are required to conduct as a regular activity of their language teaching profession. However, these activities are carried out, most of the times, without the proper training, guidance and consideration of teachers’ needs toassure students’ assessment validity and reliability. The study explores the perceptions that 48 Mexican EFL university teachers had in relation to the effectiveness of two writing assessment training sessions provided to them in a period of twelve months. Data obtained from a background questionnaire and an online post training questionnaire suggested that half of the teacher participants did not have previous writing assessment training nor for the use of scoring tools such as analytic and holistic rubrics. Additionally, it was found that although teachers found the sessions useful and practical for their future assessment practice they considered more practice using assessment rubrics and understanding the writing assessment process was needed. Teachers’ perceptions are also analyzed regarding the perceived changes that training encouraged. It is concluded that the inexperience with writing assessment that most of the teachers stated to have may have influenced the perceptions participants reported. Implications for the language student, teacher and institution are discussed in the conclusions of the paper.