Chapter 13. Incorporating a formative assessment cycle into task-based language teaching in a university setting in Japan

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This chapter explains how a formative assessment cycle can inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of pedagogical tasks in a task-based syllabus by reporting the results of a study that examined 46 Japanese university business students’ competence to deliver a PowerPoint presentation in English. A Many-Facet Rasch analysis of student ratings of the PowerPoint presentations combined with a discourse analysis of the presentations revealed a gap between the students’ English presentation and their PowerPoint design skills. A gap also existed between the students’ descriptive and explanatory skills. A formative assessment cycle can thus identify specific competencies that need further development to ensure a smooth transition from an EFL classroom to a real-world use of English in a business situation. The study presents a successful example of how a formative assessment cycle can provide the teacher and the students in an EFL TBLT program setting with informative feedback that identifies students’ level of competence to perform a given task, the difficulty of that task, and ways in which students can develop towards target task performances.


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