Measuring and supporting second language development using computerized dynamic assessment

Jie Zhang, Xiaofei Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study developed an innovative framework for measuring and supporting second language development through integrating diagnostic language assessment and instruction by incorporating mediation. Nineteen students enrolled in an intermediate Chinese listening and speaking course at a large public university in the Midwest United States took a computerized dynamic assessment (C-DA) listening test in the Spring 2015 semester. The C-DA test differed from traditional standardized tests in that it diagnosed not only students' fully developed abilities but also their emerging abilities. It offered students graduated mediational prompts for items they had difficulty with and tracked the amount of mediation they needed for those items. The test report also included a learner profile detailing each student's independent and mediated performance on clusters of items designed to test different language constructs. Based on the results of the diagnostic C-DA test, students were categorized in three groups, and each group was offered instructional support tailored to their listening abilities and learning needs. Analysis of the diagnostic test reports, student interviews, and end-of-semester student evaluations of the course provided evidence that the integration of diagnostic language assessment and instruction that incorporates appropriate mediation helped creating a coherent and effective pedagogy for the students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-115
Number of pages24
JournalLanguage and Sociocultural Theory
Issue numberSpecialIssue1
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Linguistics and Language


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