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Assessment in Second Language Teacher Education

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Assessment in Second Language
Teacher Education
Donald Freeman, Melinda McBee Orzulak, and Gwynne Morrissey
Assessment, like many aspects of second language teacher education, is changing. Several
factors are driving the change, among them how we understand the work of teaching
generally, language teaching in particular, and more fundamentally the role of teachers’
knowledge in teaching. There are also issues of identity and practice: who teachers are
and what they are expected to teach in the face of changing student demographics, all of
which are redefining theoretical frameworks for assessing knowledge-in-action. Thus, what
might, at one point, have seemed like a straightforward notion documenting what teachers
know as language teachers – is becoming increasingly complex. When that knowledge was
seen as unitary – knowing about language, its grammar, form, and uses – then assessing it
could be equally straightforward: it was simply a matter of testing teachers’ knowledge of
However, this formula – that content could equal competence – belied the messy com-
plexity of language teaching itself. The challenge with language teaching is that teachers
use language to teach language, so knowledge in language teaching is actually a dual phe-
nomenon: It must relate (or blend) content and process in and through language. Language
is the basis of the lesson – what the teacher is teaching – and it is the means of teaching it
how the teacher teaches that lesson. Added to this complexity is the more general challenge
of assessing teaching as an activity: whether to document its processes (what the teacher is
doing), its outcomes (what the students appear to have learned), or some combination of the
. There are also key choices to be made in assembling such documentation: whether
the records are grounded externally in visible practices or combine, or indeed are based in,
the teacher’s self-assessment of their work.
The confluence all of these challenges and issues make the question of assessment in
second language teacher education a rich, complex, and shifting enterprise. We gather these
Donald Freeman, Melinda McBee Orzulak, and Gwynne Morrissey
complexities under what we call the arc of assessment, to capture the way these concerns,
and indeed the central question of how best to document what language teachers know and
do in relation to their own and their students’ learning, are shifting over time.
This chapter addresses three questions: What is the focus of assessment in second language
teacher education? How has that focus changed and why? And how have the ways of
assessing this evolving focus changed and evolved? Together these questions frame the
changing parameters of assessment in this field in terms of its focus, what is to be assessed,
and the manner, or how, it is to be assessed. We suggest that these parameters of what
and how are, at least to some extent, mutually defining since the profession has tended to
assess what we could figure out how to assess. However, as the arc of assessment extends
into complex questions of knowledge-in-use or -in-action, the focus has broadened and the
processes have been reoriented so that the synergy between focus and manner is moving in
new directions.
All of which calls for a broader definition of assessment. Increasingly critics recognize
the interrelation of information gathered through tests and how that information is inter-
preted and used as part of the assessment process. Moss, Girard, and Haniford (2006) locate
assessment in an ascending set of practices that include testing, assessment, and assessment
practices. They follow the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing to connect
“tests” and “assessments,” as follows:
...tests [are] an evaluative device or procedure in which a sample of an
examinee’s behavior in a specified domain is obtained and subsequently
evaluated and scored using a standardized process. (AERA, APA, NCME,
1999: p. 3)
Assessment is a broader term for . . . a process that integrates test information with infor-
mation from other sources (e.g., information from the individual’s social, educational,
employment, or psychological history)” (AERA et al. 1999, p. 3). Combining these two
terms, Moss et al. redefine assessment practices as . . . a process of inquiry that inte-
grates multiple sources of evidence, whether test-based or not, to support an interpretation,
decision, or action.” (Moss et al. 2006: 152).
This widening perspective goes beyond test scores alone to put information and how it
is used at the center of the assessment process. Moss (2008) argues that assessment involves
. . . questions or problems being addressed and the kinds of evidence needed /
used to address them. . . . [F]urther that use of evidence to address ques-
tions or problems to support interpretations, decisions, and actions
is an ongoing aspect of the interaction (whether formally designated as
“assessment” or not). (p. 227)
These broader interactions, or “assessment practices,” she contends, “. . . do far more than
provide information; they shape people’s understanding of what is important to learn, what
learning is, and who learners are” (p. 254). Including these so-called political judgments
locates the specific information from tests in the contexts, or assessment practices, of its
uses, which is key in understanding assessment in second language teacher education.
Assessment in Second Language Teacher Education
In second language teacher education, we include in this arc of assessment preservice
teacher preparation and training, in-service professional development, and also judgments
that are made through licensure and certification about entry into the profession. These
latter functions are generally vested in policies and regulations at the national, regional, and
perhaps local levels. They are part of state licensure regulations in the United States (e.g.,
Freeman and Riley 2005); in national qualification frameworks in countries like Australia,
England, and South Africa for example; and in national regulatory structures in other coun-
tries (e.g., Korea, Mexico, Spain, etc). In addition, in the case of English language teaching,
there are well-developed teacher assessment schemes, which are internationally portable,
at least at the entry level ( These preemployment assess-
ments often lead to certification judgments, whereas assessments done during employment,
such as formal and informal teacher supervision (Bailey 2006), can impact relicensure,
promotion, and ongoing employment.
Our discussion traces three broad phases in the development of the focus of assessment
in second language teacher education. We start from what we call the conventional view
in which testing knowledge about language as content provides a proxy for teaching
knowledge. This conventional view has developed into an increasingly elaborated view
of language as content, which distinguishes proficiency in the language as a medium of
instruction from knowledge about that language as content. Recently, we argue that there
has been an emerging view that acknowledges that language functions as both the medium
and the content of lessons through pedagogy. This emerging view considers as central
the wider frame that Moss (2008) refers to above as “assessment practices”: . . . people’s
understanding of what is important to learn, what learning is, and who learners are”
(p. 254). These three phases the conventional, the elaborated, and the emerging reorient
the manner in which teacher knowledge in second language teaching has been assessed.
By manner, we refer to the choices made about how to document what language teachers
know and do, either directly, as through observation for example, or indirectly, as with
self-assessment, portfolio, or a paper-and-pencil test.
We have argued that assessment, then, interrelates a focus (what) with a manner (how);
we want to turn now to the person: who is being assessed. In fact, assessment prac-
tices categorize people according to what knowledge is being documented and evaluated
through the assessment. Defining who is being assessed is usually relatively straightfor-
ward, although as we will see in language teaching, those definitions depend on context.
This may be because in second language teaching, the content, or what teachers know,
is circumscribed and defined by the context. We call this complex interplay between the
who and the what in assessing second language teachers, the dilemma of language as
In second language teacher education, it is important to position the discussion of the
individual teachers who are being assessed in context, since those judgments are, at least
in part, a function of the individual teacher’s position within the broader social setting
and workforce. From this perspective, we differentiate among three key sectors in this
teaching force since assessment is generally approached differently depending on the aims
and resources available in each sector.
Donald Freeman, Melinda McBee Orzulak, and Gwynne Morrissey
The first, so-called public, sector refers to teachers in national or regional employment.
The aim in this sector is to qualify and license teachers according to national or regional
(e.g., state-level in the United States) determinations of pedagogical and subject matter
competence (see Katz and Snow, Chapter 7). Most assessments in this public sector depend
on a combination of the candidate’s educational record (transcripts, course evaluations, and
the like) and paper-and-pencil tests that are nationally or regionally administered. In certain
situations, they can be complemented by self-assessment measures and representations of
practice, as in paper or electronic portfolios, which assemble samples of the candidate’s
work accompanied by analytic and reflective statements. In all instances though, the assess-
ment process, which is entirely ex situ, is separated from the candidate’s actual teaching
Within this first public sector, there is a further distinction in second language teach-
ing between what are called “foreign,” or “world,” language teachers, who teach lan-
guages other than the national language, and “second,” or “additional,” language teachers,
who teach students the language of instruction / schooling
. Thus, in an English-speaking
national context like the United States or Australia, “world foreign language,” or LOTE,
teachers may be teaching Mandarin Chinese, French, or Spanish, whereas “second,” or
“additional language,” teachers are teaching English to children or adults who are speakers
of other languages. In another national language context, such as Italy for example, “foreign
language” teachers may be teaching English or German, whereas “second,” or “additional
language” teachers, if they are so licensed, would be teaching Italian to immigrant children.
In these diverse cases, assessments of candidates usually combine review of their educa-
tional records, as documented by degrees, with certain ex situ written assessments, which
are, at times, reflective self-assessments.
In addition, in this first sector, “foreign,” or “world language,” teachers can often
be expected to teach the literature(s) and culture(s) of those languages (Hawkins 1981,
McFerren 1988). So a foreign language teacher of French may be expected to teach the
writings of Camus or Baudelaire, whereas an English as a foreign language teacher in
certain state-school settings may be expected to teach Shakespeare or cultural information
about living in New York City or London. However, these same teachers, if they are working
in “second or additional language” settings perhaps teaching French to immigrants in
Quebec or English to children who are new to U.S. schools – would not be expected to be
knowledgeable in those literatures, and the cultural information, although central, would
be treated differently. This distinction between “foreign” and “second” language teachers
complicates the task of mapping assessments of what these groups of teachers should
know, especially since in some circumstances, the knowledge needed may shift when one
is teaching a language as a foreign language in one context or teaching the same language
as a second / additional language in another.
This complex interplay between content as language proficiency and as literary or
cultural knowledge is often highlighted in the debate of the role of the native-speaking
teacher. In contrast to other areas of education, the public sector in second language
teaching is perhaps unique among subject matters in also having a second, “private,” sector.
This sector, which is made up largely of private, non- and for-profit institutions and schools,
is generally un- or perhaps semi-regulated; in it, language teachers are hired based on their
proficiency and social / cultural background
. These teachers are referred to as “native-
speakers,” usually because they were born in communities that used, and were educated
in, the language they are teaching. This simplistic social / cultural qualification that equates
being a native-speaker with being competent to teach has diminished a great deal in the
last two decades. However, in some national and regional contexts, such judgments, which
are completely unassessed, do persist, usually as a function of the market for the languages
being taught (e.g., the demand for English in countries in east Asia, or recently for Mandarin
Assessment in Second Language Teacher Education
Assessed by general
Assessed either by one’s
academic record (e.g.
coursework) and / or in
situ (by observation)
Knowing subject
Knowing how to
teach it
Figure 1 The conventional frame
Chinese in many communities in the United States). Pasternak and Bailey (2004) provide
a useful way of charting this interrelation between teachers’ language proficiency and their
professional preparation (see Kamhi-Stein, Chapter 9, for more discussion).
There is a third sector, which is in many ways entirely unique to the teaching of
English as a foreign language: the transnational entry-level teaching credentials offered by
independent assessment authorities (e.g., the University of Cambridge ESOL Assessment’s
Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults [CELTA]). These credentials, which
date from the 1970s, are well-established (Poulter 2007) and are undergirded by assessments
that support, at least in theory, a globally portable credential. Assessments in this third sector
are generally in situ, operating through the training design itself. Candidates are judged
qualified by the trainers’ ongoing judgments of their work, participation, and practice
teaching in the course itself. These judgments are then corroborated through an external
system of moderation. Usually an assessor, who is qualified in the curriculum but outside
the particular running of the course, visits the site, meets the trainees, and assesses their
work. In this way, these global qualification schemes provide checks and balances, which
blend emic, or insider, judgments of the trainer with the etic, or outsider, corroboration of
the assessor.
Although these three sectors share a common overall purpose in assessing what teachers
know to determine competence however described they differ in the focus of assessment
and in how content, or what is being assessed, is defined, which we discuss in the following
The question of what is being assessed has become increasingly complicated. Until the
mid-1980s, knowledge-for-teaching tended to be defined almost exclusively as content
knowledge. Pedagogical knowledge, usually based in teaching methodology, although it
was recognized as part of what teachers might know to teach, was rarely focused on in
general assessments. Knowledge-for-teaching was equated to knowing the subject matter
mathematics, chemistry, history, and so on.
This basic formulation (Figure 1: The conventional frame) obeyed a certain common-
sense logic: If teachers did not know their content, they could not be qualified to teach it.
Thus, given the manner of such assessments, which tended to be paper-and-pencil and often
multiple-choice tests of basic content knowledge, testing content was a common surrogate
for assessing knowledge-for-teaching.
During the 1980s, the logic of this conventional frame was challenged on several
fronts. The question of whether subject-matter knowledge in itself was most important in
teaching came under fire. In mathematics, for example, the work of scholars in the National
Donald Freeman, Melinda McBee Orzulak, and Gwynne Morrissey
Center for Research on Teacher Learning (NCRTL) (e.g., Ball 1988; McDiarmid, Ball,
and Anderson 1989) examined the premise that preservice teachers with university degrees
in mathematics might be better prepared to teach than preservice teachers with specific
preparation in mathematics education. For the former group of subject-matter / mathematics
majors, the researchers found that “. . . their additional studies do not seem to afford them
substantial advantage in explaining and connecting underlying concepts, principles, and
meanings” (Ball 1988: 24).
The argument that subject-matter knowledge alone was not adequate to teach effectively
brought to the fore students as learners. How, in the words of Stevick (1976), could a teacher
claim to have taught, if students had not learned? This basic riddle formed the basis of
Shulman’s now-broadly embraced construct of pedagogical content knowledge. Writing in
1986, Shulman described this new construct as “the ways of representing and formulating
the subject that make it comprehensible to others” (p. 9). Placing subject matter in relation
to learners, he argued that
pedagogical content knowledge also includes an understanding of what
makes the learning of specific topics easy or difficult: the conceptions and
preconceptions that students of different ages and backgrounds bring with
them to the learning of those most frequently taught topics and lessons.
(Shulman 1986: 9)
Shulman’s proposal for a different knowledge construct was driven in part by the policy
proposal in the United States to establish a National Board for Professional Teaching
Standards (NBPTS), which would “define what teachers should know and be able to do”
and “support the creation of rigorous, valid assessments to see that certified teachers do
meet those standards” (Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, 1986, as cited in
NBPTS, 2007). The intent, as Katz and Snow (Chapter 7) argue, has been that standards as
putative exemplars of effective teachers’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes or dispositions –
change the focus of teaching assessments from an evaluation of the end product to an
“illumination” of the teaching process. Clearly teachers’ self-assessment is central in this
process. Katz and Snow (Chapter 7) suggest that portfolios, such as those used in National
Board Certification, are useful means of representing teacher learning and skills in this
While pedagogical content knowledge introduced an argument for making more complex
judgments about teachers’ knowledge, it proved a difficult construct to enact both in teacher
education and in undertaking assessments of classroom practice. Questions of how this
emergent, contextual knowledge of teachers’ practices could be documented let alone
scored – raised both psychometric and hermeneutic issues. The teacher’s emic knowledge
of practice called for a new theory of assessment (Moss 2008). Clearly the manner of such
assessments also had to change, moving from simple written documentation to include video
and / or observations, so that ex situ and in situ judgments could somehow be combined
through elaborated portfolios and other means of documentation.
A key approach to addressing these hermeneutic issues has been to base assessment
in a teacher’s own interpretation of his or her practice. Such assessments might be per-
formed as a mark of “independent professionalism,” as Leung (Chapter 5) suggests. If
teachers use only the “handed-down requirements” of sponsored “collective professional-
ism” in assessments of their work, the assessments may not generate continued professional
learning. Such reflective examination of the process of teaching is often found in portfolios,
Assessment in Second Language Teacher Education
which can be mandated in relation to standards such as those posed by the United States
NBPTS. There are also independent resources, such as the Web-based portfolios teachers
can create with organizational support, such as the University of Cambridge ESOL Exam-
ination’s online Teacher Portfolio (University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, 2006).
In both cases as Katz and Snow (Chapter 7) argue, these self-assessment processes can
serve to build a “common language” to discuss and improve the processes of teaching and
Beyond these major challenges of implementation however, there is an even more
fundamental one: The construct of pedagogical content knowledge may not work when it is
applied in language teaching. Conceived to document the teaching of conventional school
subjects (e.g., Grossman 1990), the construct may not function in the case of language.
Simply put, although there may be one subject matter, there are two contents in language
teaching: Content
is the language itself; and content
is knowledge about the language and
its use (see Bartels, Chapter 12) as diagrammed here:
Knowing language
Knowing about
Knowing how to
teach language
Assessed by
language tests or
by judgments of
Assessed either by
one’s academic record
(e.g. coursework)
and / or in situ (by
Figure 2 The elaborated frame (the conventional frame applied to language)
These two contents are in dynamic relation to each other. For example, a “foreign
language” teacher who is teaching English in Brazil can teach English (content
) in / through
English (content
), but she or he can also teach English (content
) in / through Portuguese
). Here the content
, English, is the same; but it is framed and delivered in two
different versions of content
English or Portuguese. This raises the real question since
both are languages: What is the content of the lesson? Although the ideology of modern
language instruction, in contrast to grammar-translation teaching, may privilege teaching
the language in the language (e.g., Rivers 1981), thus making content
synonymous with
, in fact, much foreign language instruction around the world generally presents
the target language content (content
) via the medium of the home or national language,
which becomes content
This distinction between the two contents has become a central feature of assessing
teachers’ knowledge in second language teaching. Generally speaking, knowledge of and
fluency in the target language (content
) is taken as a proxy for knowledge about the
language (content
) (Upshur 1971), although the reverse is not the case. Thus, in many
settings, when English fluency can be referenced to birth and / or education, which happens
in the concept of native speaker (Cook 1999; Davies 1996), a teacher candidate who is
native is viewed a qualified to teach that language. However, other candidates, who may
have in-depth grammatical and meta-linguistic knowledge, but who have not spoken or
used the language from birth or perhaps in daily interactions, are seen as less qualified.
In this way, language creates a dilemma in the content, in measuring the mastery of
subject-matter. By the late 1980s in the United States, requirements existed for either full
Donald Freeman, Melinda McBee Orzulak, and Gwynne Morrissey
certification or endorsements in teaching most “foreign” languages. These assessments
included tests in the target language, methodology, and cultural knowledge (McFerren
1988). Over the last 20 years, similar requirements have been developed for ESOL teachers,
although these requirements have often been localized at state, or even district, levels.
Presently, standardized tests such as the ETS Praxis battery, test language knowledge,
metalinguistic knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge. Though these exams do not include
an oral proficiency component for the examinee, they purport to test student language
production, linguistic theory, pedagogical methods, assessment techniques and cultural
issues, and professional issues (Educational Testing Service, 2005). Though not nationally
required, the Praxis is frequently a state requirement in the United States for teacher
certification in ESOL and foreign languages.
The dilemma of language as content has been played out in transnational or global
assessment schemes as well. In 2005, the University of Cambridge ESOL Assessments
developed the Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT), which is now offered in 21 countries.
Similar in some ways to the Praxis battery, the TKT has three independent modules that
address language and background to language learning and teaching, planning lessons
and use of resources for language teaching, and managing the teaching and learning pro-
cess (University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, 2008; also Spratt, Pulverness, and
Williams 2005). While both the TKT and the Praxis batteries appear to assess knowl-
edge that could only be acquired through professional training in language teaching, they
also include knowledge that an individual might acquire simply via an “apprenticeship of
observation” (Lortie 1975) of being a student in a language classroom and in school more
The demand for national and transnational assessments of teaching knowledge in
language teaching has been fueled in part by continuing policy moves to setting standards
for teacher quality. Most major national systems in the Anglophone countries, with the
notable exception of the United States, vest these quality standards for teachers generally in
their national qualifications frameworks (e.g., Australia, England, New Zealand, and South
Africa). However, the specifics are often murky, and there is usually no national curriculum
for educating ESOL teachers, perhaps because it is a second / additional language in these
The challenge of establishing national standards for language teaching as a basis for
assessment is exceedingly complex because of the nature of language as content. When it
was defined primarily in terms of its grammar, language was a relatively stable construct.
However, as these definitions have evolved to account for the speakers’ potential purposes in
using language, such as those outlined in the Common European Framework of Reference
in the countries of the European Union for example (Council of Europe, 2001), the construct
of language itself has become blurred (Larsen-Freeman and Freeman 2008). There is no
longer one standard against which language can be assessed; rather there can be multiple
standards that hinge on the speaker’s purpose and use.
The evolving construct of language has further blurred the distinction between knowledge
of methodology and knowledge of content. The latter, knowledge of content, has depended
as we said on a relation between language as medium, which we have called content
and language as subject matter, content
. This distinction is played out both in theory
what does it mean to know the language versus to know about the language – to determine
qualifications, and in how teachers teach in classrooms. When the relationship conflated
Assessment in Second Language Teacher Education
notions of linguistic fluency or proficiency with language knowledge, then knowledge of
content seemed relatively straightforward to assess. Knowledge of methodology, although
it was usually treated separately, was seen as assessable through paper-and-pencil tests
given ex situ, outside the classroom. However, recent work on knowledge for / in teaching
has clarified that these distinctions between content and methodology are not viable in
assessing the work of teaching. Research in teaching mathematics in elementary schools,
for example, has found that parsing assessments into teacher’s knowledge of methodology
and knowledge of content as separate phenomena does not capture what teachers seem to
know in order to teach (Ball, Hill, and Bass 2005). This research has, in a sense, extended
and deepened Shulman’s (1986) construct of pedagogical content knowledge, by focusing
on assessments that can document the relationship between content and methodology in
the act of teaching.
The problem is that, as we mentioned previously, language teaching presents a doubly
complicated version of this relationship. Because methodology is delivered in language,
if the language of delivery is the language that the students are learning, then methodol-
ogy becomes content and vice versa. This is the interrelationship between we have called
(or medium of instruction) and content
(or subject matter). As understanding of
knowledge of content moves beyond a focus on teachers’ linguistic or metalinguistic knowl-
edge, work is starting to focus on knowledge of language in and for teaching. Addressing the
issue of content
, Larsen-Freeman and Freeman (2008) argue that when language becomes
a subject in school, the definitions and relationships between methodology and knowledge
change. They call this phenomenon “subject-languages.” These are
...languages that are designated as subject matter within the school cur-
riculum but are not the medium of instruction in those settings . . . As subject
matter they have certain teaching practices and learning expectations asso-
ciated with them. (p. 175)
Because language now moves fluidly within and between local and global contexts (via
technology and other means), Larsen-Freeman and Freeman point out that when language
“goes to school,” the institution of school shapes the way language works even as the
outer sociopolitical frames are also redefining its values and uses. Thus subject-language,
which exists itself as a sort of “normative fiction” (Larsen-Freeman and Freeman 2008), is
increasingly challenged as an assessable construct because it is global and local simulta-
neously. So, for example, in the case of lexis, whose usage is considered correct? Which
word choice or vocabulary?
These complexities in teachers’ understanding and use of subject-language, and the
ways in which language teachers must combine content, medium, and pedagogy, are yet
not captured in current assessments. Further, an uneven patchwork of teacher education
programs and regulatory groups at national and local levels exacerbate these problems
in defining “professional” knowledge as a basis for assessments. In most national con-
texts, training for elementary and secondary teachers, as Barduhn and Johnson (Chapter 6)
write, occurs in two different institutional arenas (in many countries, teacher training
colleges are responsible for the former whereas universities are in charge of the latter).
These groups of teachers are prepared differently, and often have with different degrees
of exposure to and training in the knowledge and practices they need to teach effec-
tively. In discussing the varying ways that teachers are deemed qualified internation-
ally, Barduhn and Johnson call for “fairer and more rigorous assessments.” Further,
they note that, in comparison to the standardized assessments of teaching as observable
Donald Freeman, Melinda McBee Orzulak, and Gwynne Morrissey
Knowing how to
teach language
Figure 3 Emergent view – Language knowledge for / in teaching
behavior used conventionally, portfolios and other reflective documents may be “fairer”
in documenting the contextual and idiosyncratic aspects that make teaching practice
Further, what it means to know and to use language is being understood as increasingly
complex. Through the lens of emergentist views, language is seen as a dynamic system,
which changes and adapts in use (Ellis and Larsen-Freeman 2006). In contrast to con-
ventional grammar-based views, when language is seen as an emerging system, there is
no inherent progression or sequential movement toward a target proficiency. Instead, these
thinkers argue that as users, learners assemble resources in the moment to act on a particular
task and achieve a particular outcome. This view of the unstable and nonstatic nature of
language has clear implications for assessment of language competence, and of language as
subject matter. How teachers engage in the moment of interaction through the medium of
language and use of their pedagogical understandings—how they play the language game
in class—is connected to three inextricably linked domains we have discussed: knowing
about language as content; using the language as medium in teaching; and knowing how to
teach it, or methodology.
Figure 3 suggests a subtly different framework of language knowledge for / in teaching,
one that combines knowledge of content and medium as these are enacted in and through
processes of methodology. We call the third framework emerging because it represents
how language as content emerges in the processes of classroom teaching and learning.
Because those processes are locally shaped and nonsystematic, emergent knowledge-
for-teaching will, like the construct of pedagogical content knowledge that preceded
it, emphasize the teaching in context (Lampert 2003). Perhaps the clearest example of
this emerging framework would be work on content-and-language-integrated-learning,
or CLIL. This reform, which is prevalent in Europe, is similar to what is known as
content-based instruction in North America (e.g., Brinton, Weshe, and Snow 2003). It
proposes that language can be taught through other school subjects, or contents, such
that students are learning both the content and the language simultaneously (Mehisto,
Frigols, and Marsh 2008). In one sense, these reforms are seeking to expedite learning
by integrated language and content in the teaching process; in another sense, they seem
to hinge on the idea, which is key in this third framework, that language is not itself
actually content, but rather a medium, or means, of delivering instruction, or providing
learning opportunities in content. So a high school geometry lesson taught in English to
Dutch-speaking students in the Netherlands integrates their learning of mathematics and
This emergent framework also offers a new and useful lens for conceptualizing assess-
ment in second language teacher education. In this view, knowing a language is a medium
that interacts with both the content of knowing about the language and with methodology,
or knowing how to teach it. And methodology is a dynamic process of interacting with
what students know and do. Since the relationships among these three domains is neither
Assessment in Second Language Teacher Education
sequential nor cumulative, they cannot be logically separated for the purposes of assess-
ment, as is done currently, and for that matter in teacher education. Rather, assessment
of language knowledge for / in teaching is likely to become an increasingly messy and
emergent process, particularly as the stakes of such judgments are increasing.
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
All of this repositions the challenge of assessment in second language teacher edu-
cation from one of testing what teachers know in and about language, to assessing the
activity of what they are able to do in teaching language. But in activity, we cannot
separate the content of language from the processes of how it is being taught and hopefully
learned. In the often quoted last stanza of his poem, Among School Children,” W. B. Yeats
writes about this challenge of teasing apart elements of an activity that are fundamentally
Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul . . .
O chestnut-tree, great rooted-blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
We have argued that the arc of assessment in second language teacher education has
reached a point that it must attend to the complex intersections between the teacher and
teaching, between the dancer and the dance. Teaching is not simply combining content
with process, but classroom processes create content in language teaching. Developing new
and more comprehensive theories that locate testing with the broader assessment practices
of how information is gathering, interpreted, measured, and used, as well as new forms
and formats of assessment that can account for this complexity is the major challenge for
second language teacher education.
As teacher education in other subject areas grapples more and more with the language-
related challenges in assessment, such as how to describe and analyze teaching in language
and how to evaluate those descriptions (Moss 2008), second language teacher educators
are uniquely well positioned to offer insights into the complexities of these interaction
of language and teaching. This poses the central question: How do we use understanding
of language to inform these challenges of documenting and assessing classroom practices
across multiple forms of teacher education?
Some possible moves in response to this question will include: challenging forms
of testing and assessment both individually or institutionally that rely on simplis-
tic models of teacher knowledge; developing assessments that truly integrate multiple
sources of evidence to gauge teacher preparation and effectiveness; and developing assess-
ments that account for language as both medium and content. These issues, and others
like them, will increasingly occupy our thinking as English as a global lingua franca
changes our views of what language is and how it works. All of which brings us back
to the person of the teacher and how she represents language as content in the act of
teaching. It is the challenge of complex assessments to judge the activity of teaching
through the person who does it, or in Yeats’s words . . . to know the dancer from the
Donald Freeman, Melinda McBee Orzulak, and Gwynne Morrissey
Suggestions for further reading
Bailey, K. M. (2006). Language teacher supervision: A case-based approach.NewYork:
Cambridge University Press.
Ball, D., Hill, L., & Bass, H. C. (2005). Knowing mathematics for teaching: Who knows
mathematics well enough to teach third grade and how can we decide. American
Educator, 14–46.
Ellis, N. C., & Larsen-Freeman, D. (2006). Language emergence: Implications for applied
linguistics – introduction to the special issue. Applied Linguistics, 27(4), 558–589.
Lampert, M. (2003). Teaching problems and the problems of teaching. New Haven: Yale
University Press.
Larsen-Freeman, D., & Freeman, D. (2008). Language moves: The place of “foreign”
languages in classroom teaching and learning. Review of Research in Education, 32,
Moss, P. A., Pullin, D. P., Gee, J. P., Haertel, E. H., & Young, L. J. (2008). Assessment,
equity and opportunity to learn. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational
Researcher, 15(2), 4–14.
AERA, APA, & NCME (1999). Standards for educational and psychological testing.
Washington, D.C.
Bailey, K. M. (2006). Language teacher supervision: A case-based approach.NewYork:
Cambridge University Press.
Ball, D. L. (1988). The subject matter preparation of prospective mathematics teachers:
Challenging the myths. Research Report 88–3. National Center for Research on Teacher
Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing. Retrieved February 22, 2008, from
Ball, D., Hill, L. & Bass, H. C. (2005). Knowing mathematics for teaching: Who knows
mathematics well enough to teach third grade and how can we decide. American
Educator, 14–46.
Brinton, D. M. Weshe, & Snow, M. (2003). Content-based instruction. Ann Arbor: Uni-
versity of Michigan Press.
Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy. (1986). A nation prepared: Teachers for
the 21st century: The report of the Task Force on Teaching as a Profession. Washington,
Cook, V. (1999). Going beyond the native speaker in language teaching. TESOL Quarterly,
33(2), 185–209.
Council of Europe. (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for languages:
Learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Davies, A. (1996). Proficiency or the native speaker: What are we trying to achieve in
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Assessment in Second Language Teacher Education
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Freeman, D., & Johnson, K. E. (2004). Towards linking teacher knowledge and student
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University Press.
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and Research.
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and Opportunity to Learn (pp. 222–258). New York: Cambridge University Press.
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Donald Freeman, Melinda McBee Orzulak, and Gwynne Morrissey
Spratt, M., Pulverness, A., & Williams, M. (2005). The TKT course: Teaching knowledge
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TESOL Quarterly, 5(1), 47–59.
Some teacher quality schemes simply equate teaching and performance to student learn-
ing outcomes as measured on standardised tests. Pay-for-performance schemes are based
on this simplistic formulation that teaching causes learning (see Freeman and Johnson
Also referred to as teachers of languages-other-than-English (LOTE) in Australia.
The ARELS (Association of Registered English Language Services) organization in
Britain, and the ELICOS sector in Australia are two exceptions, in which institutions
have come together to monitor quality among members and thus to be self-regulated.
... Teacher development has differed greatly depending on the target students, with modern foreign language teachers following different preparatory courses from both EFL and ESL teachers (Freeman, 2009). Developments in EFL and ESL combined to form one discipline, the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (Freeman, 2009). ...
... Teacher development has differed greatly depending on the target students, with modern foreign language teachers following different preparatory courses from both EFL and ESL teachers (Freeman, 2009). Developments in EFL and ESL combined to form one discipline, the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) (Freeman, 2009). In the case of second language teacher development in Japan, there is an overlapping interface between the fields of TESOL and English as a Modern Foreign language and the influences of both can be seen in the policy and reality of second language teacher development in Japan. ...
... From the 1990s, the scope of Second Language Teacher Development moved from not just meaning what teachers need to learn, but also to meaning how teachers actually learn to teach (Freeman, 2009). The learning processes that teaching courses focused on and their conceptual frames were broadened from just the processes found in teacher­training situations to those found during the wider socialization of individuals as they developed as professionals (Freeman, 2009). ...
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This paper explores teacher development in Japan against the background of global trends through the case study of two Japanese teachers of English. Examining local practices in Japan, this paper attempts to draw global lessons and identify barriers to teacher development.
... As professionals in the field of education, learning from experience how these tools can be used is an important element for the (re)construction and transformation of their teaching practices. According to Freeman (2009), teacher education has adopted different perspectives over the years, from a view of training in knowledge and skills to one that placed emphasis on the professional development of teachers. This complex activity has been redefined lately to include a broader sense of the influences of research-based and conceptualisation arguments as well as issues concerning identity, socialisation, and situations of practice, which can be addressed by projects such as the 3CIT. ...
... Considering recent transnational trends in education, there is an urgent need to investigate English language teacher PD. In addition to teachers' dual role in education and educational reform as 'both subjects and objects of change' (Villegas-Reimers, 2003, p.7), the English language has a dual content function in the classroom as teachers need to have the knowledge about the language itself and know the use of the language since it is the medium of instruction as well in the class (Freeman et al., 2009). The two major questions guiding the current synthesis are: ...
Being able to address learners’ constantly evolving needs requires teachers to keep expanding their knowledge in their respective fields and actively engage in professional development practices. This qualitative meta‐synthesis, therefore, aimed to investigate the research studies published between 2006 and 2020 with respect to in‐service English language teachers’ professional development. In addition to reporting descriptive information of the studies, this synthesis study highlighted directions of research under five main themes: (1) changes in beliefs and practices with a transition from structuralist to communicative orientations; (2) online platforms in professional development; (3) collaborative professional development through research, coaching and study abroad; (4) the intricate relationship between identity and professional development; and (5) the implications for further effective professional development. Finally, this study synthesises fundamental issues in English language teacher professional development and suggests further research ideas in relation to the findings of the present review. Implications for future professional development practices and research are discussed. It is argued that successful professional development recognising teachers as key agents in the process should provide room for contextualising theory and combining it with practice and application in class. Effective professional development also necessitates acknowledging teachers’ personal practical knowledge. Professional development building on varied and differentiated activities and taking the particulars of diverse teaching contexts into consideration, would contribute to teacher growth provided particular conditions with an overt emphasis on practice, teacher needs, collaboration and sustainability. Such synthesis studies would broaden our understanding of English language teacher professional development and prompt necessary actions for development in educational systems.
... In this regard, "praxis" is a defining element in teacher expertise in that subject matter knowledge, practice, and context dialectically inform one other in the minds and actions of teachers. It also involves what Freeman (2009) would add as teachers' continued growth as " socio-professionals." Teachers substantiate and expand their praxis to include interactions with stakeholders beyond their own immediate school environs. The relationship between subject matter knowledge, practical experience, and societal engagement create a "teacher knowledge construct" or belief system that distinguishes teachers in meaningful ways from other professionals. ...
This study examines the impact of a translanguaging-driven in-service training on English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers’ professional identity re-construction. Grounded in complexity theory, the study is based on pre-, while- and post-training interviews with twelve teachers, their reflective journals, online discussions on LMS CANVAS, video-enhanced observations and the trainer first author's reflective journals. The data sets were analysed adopting grounded theory to induce emerging identities. It was found that each participating teacher developed one of three new identities: a) Translanguaging-Romanticised User, b) Translanguaging-Aware User, and c) Translanguaging-Inspired User. Implications for in-service teacher training are discussed.
CLIL “Content and Language Integrated Learning” is an approach that has been gaining momentum in applied linguistics within the last few years. Although at first its implementation might appear to be something simple, as there is a tendency to think that for the successful application of CLIL based lessons it is only necessary to impart classes in English, in fact, there is a series of elements that language teachers and scholars should be take into consideration before reducing such an innovative approach to that simplistic view. Hence, in this reflective article I address some of the challenge and opportunities that may arise when implementing this innovative metho to language teaching with an especial emphasis on the Colombian context. Within the context of this reflective article, firstly I present a general theorization of the CLIL approach. Secondly, I reflect on three of the challenges as well as on three the opportunities for the implementation of said approach in our national context. Finally, I present the conclusions.
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The present study was executed with the purpose of validating ELT Certificate Lesson Observation and Report Task (ELTC-LORT), which was developed by China Language Assessment to certify China’s EFL teachers by performance-based testing. The ELT Certificate has high-stakes considering its impacts on candidates’ recruitment, ELT in China and quality of education, so it is crucially important for its validation so as to guarantee fairness and justice. The validity of task construct and rating rubric went through a process suited for many-facet Rasch measurement supplemented with qualitative interviews. Participants (N = 40) were provided with a video excerpt from a real EFL lesson, and required to deliver a report on the teacher’s performance. Two raters graded the records of the candidates’ reports using rating scales developed to measure EFL teacher candidates’ oral English proficiency and ability to analyze and evaluate teaching. Many-facet Rasch analysis demonstrated a successful estimation, with a noticeable spread among the participants and their traits, proving the task functioned well in measuring candidates’ performance and reflecting the difference of their ability. The raters were found to have good internal self-consistency, but not the same leniency. The rating scales worked well, with the average measures advancing largely in line with Rasch expectations. Semi-structured interviews as well as focus group interviews were executed to provide knowledge regarding the raters’ performance levels and the functionalities of the rating scale items. The findings provide implications for further research and practice of the Certificate.
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The intended audience for this book targets pre-service teachers, teacher trainers and practicing teachers who teach English as a foreign language. This book provides, to every audience group, relevant theoretical groundings that support the need to build intercultural communicative competence in the foreign language classroom. Throughout this book, emphasis has been placed on the need to redesign teacher education programmes in order to address the pedagogical changes that multilingual and multicultural classrooms generate. Various practical activities included in this book are meant to develop readers’ content pedagogical knowledge and reflective attitudes towards possible research directions that can foster an understanding of how theory can impact practice. This book addresses also practicing teachers and teacher trainers who teach other subjects but who make use of a foreign language as a tool to teach the subject matter. Keywords for the entire book: intercultural communicative competence, intercultural perspective, identity, the intercultural speaker, intercultural knowledge, intercultural skills, intercultural attitudes, teacher roles, multilingual, multicultural, authentic materials, multimodal resources, formal learning, informal learning, mother tongue, foreign language, digital skills, individual differences, linguistic competence, discourse competence, sociolinguistic competence, student-centred learning, professional development.
This introductory chapter begins by providing theoretical and research-driven perspectives on student teacher learning undergirding TESOL practica, based on a social constructivist approach. Concepts such as student teacher learning as a social activity as well as an emotional process, the formation of teacher identity and the importance of mediation are presented. This conceptual overview is then followed by a description of the TESOL practicum itself. The description points to the complex nature of practicum, considering its various models, as well as aspects such as: the timing of practicum within a TESOL programme, relationships with schools in relation to fieldwork placements, the qualities of practicum supervisors and coordinating teachers, the characteristics of pre- and post-observation feedback conferences with student teachers, and ways of supporting student teachers through assessment as well as promoting reflection. As such, this chapter lays the groundwork for the rest of the volume that shares locally relevant as well as innovative practices in the TESOL practicum around the world.
Second language teacher education (SLTE) has changed its focus from cognitive to sociocultural perspectives. By considering located SLTE and community learning, this qualitative study was conducted to explore how preservice teachers of English as a foreign language learned to teach in response to learning needs in a Vietnamese city. Data sources for the study were written assignments produced by preservice teachers and in‐depth interviews with them. Through their engagement in the local community, the preservice teachers identified nine groups of adult learners who were not able to gain access to English learning in the formal schooling system. Those learners sought to learn English not only to meet their personal and professional needs but also to contribute to socioeconomic development of the local community. Based on the findings regarding the local learners’ needs and characteristics, the preservice teachers developed pedagogical practices appropriate to each specific group of learners and suggested that university‐based SLTE programmes should embrace diverse learners and community‐based teacher learning. The study substantiates the concept of located SLTE and offers some implications for SLTE in response to local needs.
Providing all students with a fair opportunity to learn (OTL) is perhaps the most pressing issue facing U.S. education. Moving beyond conventional notions of OTL - as access to content, often content tested; access to resources; or access to instructional processes - the authors reconceptualize OTL in terms of interaction among learners and elements of their learning environments. Drawing on socio-cultural, sociological, psychometric, and legal perspectives, this book provides historical critique, theory and principles, and concrete examples of practice through which learning, teaching, and assessment can be re-envisioned to support fair OTL for all students. It offers educators, researchers, and policy analysts new to socio-cultural perspectives an engaging introduction to fresh ideas for conceptualizing, enhancing, and assessing OTL; encourages those who already draw on socio-cultural resources to focus attention on OTL and assessment; and nurtures collaboration among members of discourse communities who have rarely engaged one another's work.
In this chapter, I develop the implications of the earlier chapters – on sociocultural and situative perspectives – for the practice of classroom assessment. In chapter 11, Moss, Girard, and Greeno further develop the implications of these perspectives for assessment that crosses the boundaries – from the classroom to the school and from the school to the district, external organization, or beyond – to serve purposes of professional learning, evaluation, and accountability. Perhaps the central message of the previous chapters on sociocultural and situative (SC/S) perspectives is that if we want to foster learning and opportunity to learn (OTL), we need to understand the dynamic “relationship between learners and their learning environment” (Gee, this volume, chapter 4). This includes the relationship between learners and the physical and conceptual tools in their environment; it also includes the relationship between learners and the other people in their environment. In fact, from an SC/S perspective, learning is routinely conceptualized in terms of changes in these relationships. Learners participate more proficiently in the community's activities, disciplinary concepts take on new meanings as they are put to work in solving problems, and so on. Even if one views learning as change in mental representations, the mental representation can only be acquired and demonstrated through interactions between learners and the tools and/or other people in their environment. There is no unmediated access to learning (Gee, this volume, chapter 4).
In this book an experienced classroom teacher and noted researcher on teaching takes us into her fifth grade math class through the course of a year. Magdalene Lampert shows how classroom dynamics--the complex relationship of teacher, student, and content--are critical in the process of bringing each student to a deeper understanding of mathematics, or any other subject. She offers valuable insights into students and teaching for all who are concerned about improving the learning that happens in the classroom. Lampert considers the teacher's and students' work from many different angles, in views large and small. She analyzes her own practice in a particular classroom, student by student and moment by moment. She also investigates the particular kind of teaching that aims at engaging elementary school students in learning fundamentally important ideas and skills by working on problems. Finally, she looks at the common problems of teaching that occur regardless of the individuals, subject matter, or kinds of practice involved. Lampert arrives at an original model of teaching practice that casts new light on the complexity in teachers' work and on the ways teachers can successfully deal with teaching problems.
Audio-lingual courses in English for speakers of other languages satisfy the conditions which warrant classroom testing of oral proficiency. Testing is a necessary part of teaching as the means whereby students are provided continuous information about the success of their attempts to speak English. This kind of information is necessary in skill learning. Tests are useful also as guides for control of instruction and for evaluation and proficiency reports. Testing entails (1) selection of test contents and techniques, (2) test taking, and (3) scoring. Tests can be improved by increasing the objectivity of selection and scoring, and increasing the subjectivity of test taking. Improvements are possible in tests which reflect two different but compatible views of language proficiency: that proficiency is measured by determining a speaker's knowledge of linguistically defined elements and processes which are useful for communication, and that proficiency is a measure of communication ability regardless of this knowledge. Cumulative records of instructional success provide the best measure of proficiency according to the first view. Communicative ability is best measured situationally. Interviews can be broadened to require the examinee to assume roles less restricted than 'interviewee'. Other techniques require the examinee to provide and seek information under various conditions and to alter his speech according to the comprehension abilities of his listeners.
This article argues that language teaching would benefit by paying attention to the L2 user rather than concentrating primarily on the native speaker. It suggests ways in which language teaching can apply an L2 user model and exploit the students' L1. Because L2 users differ from monolingual native speakers in their knowledge of their L2s and L1s and in some of their cognitive processes, they should be considered as speakers in their own right, not as approximations to monolingual native speakers. In the classroom, teachers can recognise this status by incorporating goals based on L2 users in the outside world, bringing L2 user situations and roles into the classroom, deliberately using the students' L1 in teaching activities, and looking to descriptions of L2 users or L2 learners rather than descriptions of native speakers as a source of information. The main benefits of recognising that L2 users are speakers in the own right, however, will come from students' and teachers' having a positive image of L2 users rather than seeing them as failed native speakers.