Implementing Performance Assessments in University English Departments in the Kurdistan Region: Viable Solutions to the Practice and Technical Difficulties
Keywords:Assessment, Performance Assessment, Assessment System, Practice Difficulties, Technical Difficulties, EFL Teacher, EFL Student Difficulties
Nowadays, language performance is likely to be the most predominant factor on which assessment primari- ly focuses for estimating students’ success. Hancock )1994( concludes that assessment is a continuous strategy and interactive process by which both teachers and students collaborate to monitor student learning and make decisions about their performances. Due to the difficulties highlighted in Ismael 2017 and 2018 respectively, there was a limited implementation of performance assessments in the English departments of Kurdistan Re- gion universities. This current study, therefore, looked into some viable solutions to the contextual difficulties of implementing performance assessments in terms of practice and technicality in the English departments of Kurdistan Region universities from the perspectives of university EFL teachers. Following performance assess- ment practices, as this study generally revealed, is tremendously beneficial for the processes of teaching, learn- ing, and assessment of English language but it is not effortless for both teachers and students with the latter bearing a considerable portion of the burden. This study arrived at some feasible solutions and procedures to follow and to cope with these difficulties based on the analyses of the lengthy discussions of the interviews and the focus group interview. According to the findings, the difficulties of implementing performance assessments can be significantly minimized by decreasing the number of students to 25 per class, allocating equal marks for performance assessments and main traditional tests, holding seminars for students to inform them about the types of assessments and tests they are expected to complete, providing training courses for teachers on conducting performance assessments, stating objectives and mentioning outcomes in the curriculum about those assessments, and most significantly reforming the assessment system as a whole gradually by piloting per- formance assessments. The major implications of this study could be informing senior administrators in the administrators in the English departments that the implementation of performance assessments in their departments is insufficient, and that their assessment system requires significant reforms and improvements in several aspects in order to obtain an up-to-date language assessment system, which could subsequently improve university EFL students’ learning of English.
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