Differentiated assessment is intended to tailor to individual learning needs. Nevertheless, a potential problem with differentiated assessment is the issue of fairness. The purpose of this exploratory study was to develop and improve a set of differentiated speaking assessment tasks. Four specific research questions guided the study. The first looked at motivating factors that determined students’ selections among various difficulty levels, the second at the perceived fairness in relation to learner proficiency levels, the third at how the speaking assessment tasks developed in this study could be improved, and the fourth at the possible backwash effects of differentiated assessment. Results indicate that the most important factor determining student task selection is self-perceived English proficiency. Students tended to consider differentiated assessment to be a fair practice, although lower-achieving students seemed to have more positive attitudes toward it than did higher-achieving students. To enhance learning, teachers should activate students’ metacognitive strategy use in the learning and assessment process. Finally, potential backwash and ways to improve the assessment tasks are provided.
|Keywords:||Backwash, Differentiated Assessment, Fairness, Language Assessment, Speaking Assessment, Task Selection|
Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Foreign Languages, National Kaohsiung University of Applied Sciences, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Graduate Student, Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan