Dynamic assessment in the language classroom

Matthew E. Poehner, James P. Lantolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

237 Citations (SciVal)


The focus of this paper is on the implementation of Dynamic Assessment (henceforth, DA) in the L2 classroom setting. DA is an approach to assessment and instruction derived from Vygotsky's theory of the Zone of Proximal Development (henceforth, ZPD). In what follows, we will first discuss briefly the concept of the ZPD and its realization in DA procedures; next we will briefly discuss the work of Reuven Feuerstein, whose work on DA is most directly relevant to the goal of the present article (for a discussion of other models of DA, see Lantolf and Poehner, 2004; Sternberg and Grigorenko, 2002); finally, we will compare DA to Formative Assessment (henceforth, FA) and will suggest how FA might be reconceptualized according to DA principles. In the language testing literature, FA is usually contrasted with Summative Assessment on the grounds that the former is intended to feed back into the teaching and learning process while the latter reports on the outcomes of learning (Bachman, 1990: 60-61). Moreover, FA procedures are generally considered to be less systematic and not as high-stakes as summative assessments. Following Rea-Dickins and Gardner (2000), however, we suggest that FA is not necessarily low-stakes and that it can be carried out quite systematically, yielding results that may be more systematic and revealing with regard to learner development than summative assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-265
Number of pages33
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamic assessment in the language classroom'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this