The Zone of Proximal Development and the Genesis of Self-Assessment

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15 Scopus citations


Self-assessment practices have become widespread second language (L2) education, and while its proponents have long argued that such reflection enhances learner awareness of their abilities and promotes independent learning (Alderson, 2005; Chen, 2008; Little, 2007), others have questioned its value vis-à-vis other indicators of performance (Gipps, 1994; Ross, 1998). This article approaches learner self-assessment from a Vygotskian perspective, and specifically the proposal of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). According to this view, development is understood as transitioning from other-regulated to self-regulated functioning. Following Zuckerman (2003), engaging reflective evaluation of performance is argued to be a critical feature of this process. Data from a study involving L2 learners of French participating a Dynamic Assessment (Lantolf & Poehner, 2004) program are presented to explore how this development may occur and to examine challenges learners may experience as they endeavor to regulate not only their use of the L2 during completion of tasks but also while evaluating their performance. keeping with the notion of the ZPD, it is argued that learner efforts to self-assess must be carefully mediated as they move from a cooperative to an independent mode of self-assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-622
Number of pages13
JournalModern Language Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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