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Dynamic assessment and academic writing: evidence of learning transfer?

Shrestha, Prithvi (2013). Dynamic assessment and academic writing: evidence of learning transfer? In: Janus moment in EAP: Revisiting the past and building the future, BALEAP Biennial Conference , 19 – 21 April 2013, University of Nottingham.

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In the context of higher education, many higher order skills and knowledge are expected to be transferable by lecturers. Sustaining these skills and knowledge is therefore central to learning and disciplinary writing development. English for Specific Purposes (ESP) courses can contribute to this purpose as they aim to enable Higher Education students to participate in their chosen academic communities as fully as possible. Despite learning transfer being a key purpose in ESP, research in this area is still limited (Cheng, 2007).
In this context, this paper reports on a small-scale study investigating the transfer of academic writing skills and conceptual knowledge among undergraduate business studies students. The data are derived from a larger study (Shrestha, 2011) conducted at a British university. One assignment text each was collected from four students who studied an ESP course for business studies. While three students had received interactive feedback on their previous two assignments, following a Vygotsky-inspired dynamic assessment (DA) approach, one student was provided with traditional tutor feedback. DA blends instruction with assessment by targeting and further developing students’ potential abilities (Poehner, 2011) whereas traditional tutor feedback is less interactive and hence, may not sufficiently target learners’ potential abilities. The student texts were analysed by drawing on Vygotskian sociocultural theory of learning (Vygotsky, 1978), and genre theory (Martin & Rose, 2007) based on Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (Halliday & Matthiessen, 2004). The findings suggest that the transfer of academic writing skills and conceptual knowledge occurred more in the texts of the students that underwent dynamic assessment than that of the student who followed a traditional assessment approach for their first two assignments. Implications of this for ESP instruction and assessment design will be presented.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2013 Author
Keywords: dynamic assessment; learning transfer; systemic functional linguistics; sociocultural theory of learning; near transfer; far transfer; transcendence; conceptual development; academic writing; academic writing assessment
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Languages and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Language & Literacies
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Item ID: 37463
Depositing User: Prithvi Shrestha
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2013 09:38
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2016 08:57
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