The practice of formative assessment by EFL teachers in secondary high schools in Indonesia

  • Maya Defianty

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Based on Black and Wiliam’s seminal publication in 1998, a number of countries have implemented formative assessment as a means of improving student learning. Formative assessment was adopted in Indonesia more than two decades ago. Recently, the notion has been strengthened in the current curriculum, Kurikulum 2013, which explicitly emphasises students’ role in the process of assessment. Unfortunately, the notion of formative assessment, as stipulated in the Kurikulum 2013, was criticised by teachers, who claimed that it is a heavy burden and too complicated to implement. These criticisms may derive from a number of factors; the most conspicuous of which is that teachers lack information about formative assessment. To date, there have been only a few studies that focus on formative assessment in English language teaching in Indonesia, and no studies that specifically investigate how formative assessment can be implemented in the Indonesian context. This study aims to explore how formative assessment can be carried out and to find examples of good practice which can inspire other teachers to adopt or adapt the practice. A multiple case study design was employed to investigate teachers’ understanding of formative assessment, their application of this understanding to their teaching practice, and the way they overcome any challenges encountered. Eight secondary school English teachers participated in this study: four teachers from schools under the Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) and four teachers from schools under the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA). The teachers who agreed to participate were selected based on the following criteria: they have had training and experience in implementing formative assessment, and they were recommended by their peers in the secondary high school teachers’ association committee. Data from interviews, classroom observations, and artefacts were analysed using a framework derived from Wiliam and Leahy’s (2015) categorisation of formative assessment strategies, which included clarifying, sharing, and understanding learning intentions and successful criteria; engineering effective discussions, tasks and activities that elicit evidence of learning; providing feedback that moves learning forward; activating students as learning resources for one another; and activating students as owners of their own learning (Oswalt, 2013; Thompson & Wiliam, 2008; Wiliam & Leahy, 2015). The findings from the study showed that teachers have diffuse understandings in defining formative assessment; however, they agree on other concepts of formative assessment such as its potential benefits and key elements. Furthermore, they add another element which can only be found in the area of formative assessment in ELT: the integration of language macro skills. This study has shown that teachers understand the notion of formative assessment in two different ways: firstly, teachers use the results of formative assessment to adjust their teaching in order to enhance learning, and secondly, they implement formative assessment strategies in line with their teaching and learning context, thus developing their own unique formative assessment culture. This study has found that the teachers who participated in this study were able to provide excellent examples of how formative assessment can be carried out with the aid of instruments such as three-lines writing, public speaking, video-conferencing and so on. In addition, this study has identified that teachers were able to make room for formative assessment despite the testing culture that is entrenched in the Indonesian education system. Nevertheless, some of the teachers’ practices needed to be refined in order to gain the potential benefits of formative assessment. This study also found that teachers were able to overcome challenges that they encountered during the implementation of formative assessment, such as large class sizes and limited time, by integrating educational technology and modifying teaching methods. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that formative assessment can permeate teaching practice, and that teachers in Indonesia have the potential to reap its benefits.
    Date of Award2018
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorKate Wilson (Supervisor) & Jeremy Jones (Supervisor)

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