The Impact of Assessment Change on Language Learning Strategies: The Views of a Small Group of Chinese Graduate Students Studying in the UK

| December 19, 2011
The Impact of Assessment Change on Language Learning Strategies: The Views of a Small Group of Chinese Graduate Students Studying in the UK

Keywords: assessment change, formative and summative test, strategy use, overseas students, Chinese learners

Xiaoli Jiang
Renmin University, China

Gerard Sharpling
University of Warwick, UK

Bio Data
Dr. Xiaoli Jiang is an Associate Professor in the English Department of the Foreign Language School, Renmin University of China. She obtained her PhD in English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics in 2008, following an MA in English Language Teaching at the University of Warwick in 2004. Her research interest includes learner autonomy, learning strategies and academic acculturation.

Dr. Gerard Sharpling is a Senior Teaching Fellow in English for Academic Purposes at the University of Warwick (UK), where he also lectures in Language Testing and Assessment. He was the co-ordinator of the Warwick English Language Test from 2002 to 2010, and has previously taught at the Universities of Birmingham (UK) and Nantes (France).

Chinese students embarking on further studies within an English-speaking higher education environment face significant changes in assessment. This study, undertaken at University of Warwick (UK), reports on Chinese graduate students retrospective views of their developing language learning strategies, in the light of changes in assessment during their courses. The study charts the students perceptions of their own experiences over one year of study, beginning with their preparatory English course and ending upon completion of their Masters degree programme. The findings of the study show that the College English Test (CET) in China remains fixed within the learners mind-sets, at least in the early stages of their study, but that greater attention is paid to process-oriented learning strategies as their academic studies progress. The increased use of process-oriented strategies is closely connected with the nature of the changing learning environment available to the students, as well as the increased use of formative assessment. Findings from the interview data suggest that the learners demonstrate a variety of approaches to their studies, and that their strategies are, in all likelihood, shaped as much by individual, contextual and pragmatic factors as cultural ones. In spite of this diversity, participants do not seem to recognize the potential transferability of product-oriented learning strategies to their later academic studies

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 13 Issue 4