Dynamic assessment of L2 development: Bringing the past into the future

James P. Lantolf, Matthew E. Poehner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

243 Scopus citations


The present paper outlines a theoretical framework for the application of dynamicassessment procedures to second language assessment and pedagogy. Dynamic assessment(DA) is grounded in Vygotsky's writings on the zone of proximal development(ZPD) and has been widely researched in psychology and education. DA distinguishesitself from other approaches to assessment by insisting that mediation of the examinee'sperformance prompts, hints, leading questions etc. - during the assessment procedureis crucial to understanding his/her abilities and for promoting development during theassessment process itself. In this paper, the major approaches to DA are reviewed andsome key studies are reported on. The few language-acquisition DA studies that havebeen carried out to date are then considered. The paper concludes with a discussion ofsome of the criticisms leveled against DA and recommendations for further researchinto DA's potential contributions to applied linguistics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-72
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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