Formative Assessment Benchmarking for Foreign Lang..
Formative Assessment Benchmarking for Foreign Language Learning&Teaching in Higher Education
Date du début: 1 oct. 2015,
Date de fin: 30 sept. 2017
Context and background
FAB promotes the enhancement of quality of foreign language learning and teaching in HE.
The issue of language skills as key competences for internationalisation and lifelong learning are central policy concerns of the EU, national governments and key goals of the Bologna Process (The European Higher Education in 2012: Bologna Process Implementation Report). There is emerging evidence that language proficiency has a significant impact on graduate employability which is a problem across Europe. As multilingual competences are regarded the key to success in both professional and social life, universities attempt to offer high-quality foreign language classes that enable graduates to make a successful transition from university into meaningful employment. To provide high-standard teaching, higher education institutions implement, among others, effective assessment tools that may track students’ progress and increase equity of their outcomes and improve students’ ability to learn. The learning process is understood not only in terms of institutional learning but rather as lifelong learning experiences that will enable graduates employment.
FAB addresses the above issues by enhancing modernisation in HE and improving provision and assessment of language learning through innovative pedagogical approach supported by formative assessment strategies. Formative assessment is the assessment FOR learning which develops students’ “learning to learn” skills by emphasising the process of teaching and learning, and involving students as partners in that process. It reinforces students’ ability of peer-and self-assessment, and helps them develop a range of effective learning strategies. The project’s main goal is to promote and implement, through consultations, lesson observations, cooperation, and the dissemination of best practices, formative assessment strategies into foreign language learning and teaching routine in HE institutions.
Participants and activities
FAB involves four European partners representing university foreign language teaching centres from four countries: Finland, Hungary, Lithuania and Poland (as coordinator), to be cooperating within the framework of Erasmus + Programme, Key Action 2 and Strategic Partnership in the area of language teaching and learning, assessment methods and development of pedagogical materials for teachers of various foreign languages, including English, German, French, Russian and Swedish. All partners have sufficient experience and expertise in teaching HE students and assessing their foreign language skills. Apart from several persons engaged and responsible for managing and coordinating the project in all partner countries, teaching staff employed by foreign language centres and students developing foreign language skills will be directly or indirectly involved in all the activities planned in the project, including conducting classes to be observed with special focus on formative assessment methods used, participation in training sessions, answering questions in specially designed questionnaires as well as in designing tools for formative assessment. Both students and teachers of foreign languages should benefit from participating in the project by gaining knowledge, skills and motivation for lifelong learning and personal development. It is estimated that the total number of project’s stakeholders is more than 20 thousand.
Project’s results and impact
In terms of outcomes, the project's main result is to develop formative assessment tools for teachers as well as students' self- and peer-assessment strategies which will be applied effectively and appropriately by both groups in order to improve foreign language acquisition/provision in HE and thus ensure that university graduates have been granted best skills and opportunities for lifelong learning and employability.
This will be achieved through carefully planned two years' cooperation, in which partners will firstly identify the assessment strategies used in learning/teaching foreign languages in higher education institutions in the partner countries and align, if necessary, formative or summative assessment approaches, as well as recognize processes which help or hinder formative assessment in foreign language teaching/learning in higher education context. Secondly, they will ensure the increase in the knowledge and understanding of formative assessment in foreign language teaching/learning at tertiary level through lesson observations and training, and finally, develop tools for promoting and implementing formative assessment strategies by identification of best practices, their dissemination, and publication of guidebooks for students and teachers. The website and the use of social media will be important in promoting dialogue and outcomes of the project. FAB has a strong dissemination and exploitation strategy to ensure a wide European impact.
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