A Study on the Assessment Literacy of Novice and Experienced ESP Instructors with TEFL and non-TEFL Backgrounds in Iranian Academic Context

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Candidate, Department of English Translation, Varamin- Pishva Branch, Islamic Azad University, Varamin, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of English Translation, Varamin- Pishva Branch, Islamic Azad University, Varamin, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of English Language, Yadegar-e-Imam Khomeini (RAH) Shahre Rey Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.



The present study was an attempt to investigate assessment literacy among ESP instructors in the Iranian academic context. A mixed-methods sequential explanatory study was designed, and 100 novice/experienced ESP instructors with TEFL/non-TEFL backgrounds at the Ph.D. level were selected through criterion sampling to complete a questionnaire and a scale. Then, from among the mentioned participants, 20 were selected for classroom observations and in-depth, semi-structured interviews based on convenience sampling. First, the quantitative data were collected using observation checklists and analyzed through running Chi-square to compare the assessment practices of novice/experienced instructors with TEFL/non-TEFL backgrounds. Next, the qualitative data were collected through taking notes and applying interviews. All interviews were transcribed, categorized, and analyzed through content analysis of themes and open/axial coding. The findings indicated that the instructors with TEFL backgrounds significantly practiced assessment methods more than the ones with non-TEFL backgrounds. Furthermore, it was found that novice instructors significantly practiced assessment methods more than the experienced ones. Likewise, it was identified that novice TEFL instructors perceived assessment components better than their non-TEFL or experienced counterparts. The findings of this study can be useful for executive administrators in the ministry of higher education, university instructors and students.


Main Subjects

  1. Ajzen, I. “The theory of planned behavior: Frequently asked questions.” Human Behavior

    and Emerging Technologies, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2020, 314-324.

    Amiri, M., and Birjandi, P. “Reliability and Content Validity of a

    Comprehensive Discourse Completion Test of Interlanguage Pragmatics for

    Academic Situations.” Sino-US English Teaching, Vol. 12, No. 9, 2015, 654-


    Arani, A. M., et al. “Assessment in Education in Iran.” Assessment, Vol. 9, No. 2,

    2012, 101-110.

    Ashraf, H., and Zolfaghari, S. “EFL Teachers' Assessment Literacy and Their Reflective Teaching.” International Journal of Instruction, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2018,


    Azadi, A. A study on the Conceptual Factors of Teacher Assessment Literacy among

    ESP Instructors. 2018. Islamic Azad University, Electronic Branch, Tehran, Iran

    Unpublished dissertation. 

    Atay, D. “Teacher Research for Professional Development.” ELT journal, Vol. 62,

    No. 2, 2008, 139-147.

    Bachman, L. F., and Palmer A. S. Language Assessment in Practice. Oxford:

    OUP, 2010.

    Bandura, A. “Social foundations of thought and action.” Englewood Cliffs, Vol. 4, No. 1,1986, 23-28.

    Bandura, A. “Self-efficacy: The exercise of control.” New York: Freeman. Barefoot College. Available at: www. barefootcollege. org. Accessed on July 31 (1997): 2011.

    Bandura, A. “The evolution of social cognitive theory.” Great minds in management, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2005, 9-35.

    Bandura, A. “Toward an agentic theory of the self.” Advances in self research, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2008, 15-49.

    Baniali, S. A study on Iranian Experienced and Novice EFL Teachers’ Belief and

    Practice in Teaching Vocabulary. 2018. Islamic Azad University, North Tehran

    Branch, Tehran, Iran, Ph.D. Dissertation.

    Barnes, N., et al. Teachers’ Beliefs about Assessment: International Handbook of

    Research on Teachers’ Beliefs. New York: Routledge, 2015.

    Bayat, K., and Rezaei, A. “Importance of Teachers’ Assessment Literacy.”

    International Journal of English Language Education, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2015, 139-


    Birjandi, P., and Tamjid, N. H. “The role of Self-, Peer and Teacher Assessment

    in Promoting Iranian EFL Learners’ Writing Performance.” Assessment &

    Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 37, No. 5, 2012, 513-533.

    Brookhart, S. M. “Educational assessment knowledge and skills for teachers.”

    Educational Measurement: Issues and Practices, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2011, 3-12.

    Burry-Stock, J. A., and Frazier, C. H. “Revision of the Assessment Practice Inventory Revised (APIR): A combined exploratory factor analysis and polytomous IRT approach.” American Educational Research Association, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2008, 24-28.

    Campbell, C., et al. “Psychometric analysis of an assessment literacy instrument:

    Applicability to preservice teachers.” Annual meeting of the mid-western

    educational research association,Vol. 9, No. 4, 2002, 24-30.

    Carraccio, C., et al. “Advancing competency-based medical education: a charter for clinician–educators.” Academic Medicine, Vol. 91, No. 5, 2016, 645-649.

    Creswell, J. W., and Clark V. L. P. Designing and conducting mixed methods

    research. Sage publications, 2017.

    Crusan, D., et al. “Writing Assessment Literacy: Surveying Second Language

    Teachers’ Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practices.” Assessing Writing, Vol. 28, No. 4,

    2016, 43-56.

    Darling-Hammond, L. “Teacher quality and student achievement: A review of state

    policy evidence.” Education Policy Analysis Archives, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2000, 20-


    Dasgupta, N. “Implicit attitudes and beliefs adapt to situations: A decade of research on the malleability of implicit prejudice, stereotypes, and the self-concept.” Advances in experimental social psychology, Vol. 47, No. 4, 2013, 233-279.

    DeLuca, C., and Klinger, D. A. “Assessment Literacy Development:

    Identifying Gaps in Teacher Candidates’ Learning.” Assessment in Education:

    Principles, Policy & Practice, Vol. 17, No. 4, 2010, 419-438.

    Dörnyei, Z. Research methods in applied linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

    Drajati, N. A., et al. “Investigating English Language Teachers in Developing TPACK

    and Multimodal Literacy.” Indonesian Journal of Applied Linguistics, Vol. 7, No.

    3, 2018, 575-582.

    Eckhout, T., et al. A Method for Providing Assessment Training to In-service and Pre-

    service Teachers. New York: Arnolds, 2005.

    Edwards, F. “A Rubric to Track the Development of Secondary Pre-service and

    Novice Teachers’ Summative Assessment Literacy.” Assessment in Education:

    Principles, Policy & Practice, Vol. 24, No. 2, 2017, 205-227.

    Eezami, R. A study on work engagement and fulfillment of basic psychological needs

    among novice and experienced EFL teachers in the Iranian institutes. 2016.

    Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran. Unpublished dissertation.

    Ellis, Rod. The study of second language acquisition. 2nd ed., Oxford: OUP, 2008.

    Estaji, Masoomeh, and Farhad Ghiasvand. “Assessment Perceptions and Practices in

    Academic Domain: The Design and Validation of an Assessment Identity

    Questionnaire (TAIQ) for EFL Teachers.” International Journal of Language

    Testing, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2021, 103-131.

    Fard, Z., and Tabatabaei, O. “Investigating Assessment Literacy of EFL Teachers

    in Iran.” Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research, Vol. 5, No. 3,

    2018, 91-100.

    Fathi, J., and Derakhshan, A. “Teacher self-efficacy and emotional regulation as predictors of teaching stress: An investigation of Iranian English language teachers.” Teaching English Language, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2019, 117-143.

    Firoozi, Tahereh, et al. “The Language Assessment Literacy Needs of Iranian EFL

    Teachers with a Focus on Reformed Assessment Policies.” Language Testing in

    Asia, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2019, 2-14.

    Gatbonton, Elizabeth. “Looking beyond teachers' classroom behaviour: Novice and experienced ESL teachers' pedagogical knowledge.” Language teaching research, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2008, 161-182.

    Gotch, C. M., and French, B. F. “Elementary teachers' knowledge and self-efficacy for measurement concepts.” The Teacher Educator, Vol. 48, No.1, 2013, 46-57.

    Hajizadeh, N., and Salahshour, N. “Characteristics of Effective EFL Instructors:

    Language Teachers’ Perceptions Versus Learners’ Perceptions.” International

    Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2014, 202-


    Hale, J. L., Householder, B. J., and Greene, K. L. “The theory of reasoned action.” The persuasion handbook: Developments in theory and practice, Vol. 14, No. 1, 2002, 259-286.

    Hervey, L. G. “Between the notion and the act: Veteran teachers’ TPACK and practice in 1: 1 settings.” Technological pedagogical content knowledge. Vol. 5, No. 2, 2015. 165-189.

    Inbar-Lourie, O. “Language Assessment Literacy: What Are the Ingredients?.”

    Language Testing, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2013, 301-307.

    Jafarpur, A. “Is the test constructor a facet?.” Language Testing, Vol. 20, No.1, 2003, 57-87.

    Jannati, S. “ELT Teachers’ Language Assessment Literacy: Perceptions and

    Practices”. The International Journal of Research in Teacher Education, Vol. 6,

    No. 2, 2015, 26-37.

    Jeong, H. “Defining assessment literacy: Is it different for language testers and non-language testers?.” Language Testing, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2013, 345-362.

    Kayler, M, and Weller, K. “Pedagogy, self-assessment, and online discussion groups.” Journal of Educational Technology & Society, Vol. 10, No.1, 2007, 136-147.

    Khodabakhshzadeh, H., Kafi, Z., and Hosseinnia, M. “Investigating EFL teachers' conceptions and literacy of formative assessment: Constructing and validating an inventory.” International Journal of Instruction, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2018, 139-152.

    Kögler, H. H. Agency and the other: On the intersubjective roots of self-identity. New Ideas in Psychology, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2012, 47-64.

    Krejcie, R. V., and Morgan, D. W. “Determining sample size for research

    Activities.” Educational and psychological measurement, Vol. 30, No. 3, 1970,


    Lam, R. “Language assessment training in Hong Kong: Implications for language assessment literacy.” Language Testing, Vol. 32, No. 2, 2015, 169-197.

    Lam, R. “Teacher Assessment Literacy: Surveying Knowledge, Conceptions and

    Practices of Classroom-based Writing Assessment in Hong Kong”. System, Vol. 81,

    2019, 78-89.

    Looney, A., Cumming, J., van Der Kleij, F., and Harris, K. “Re-conceptualizing the role of teachers as assessors: Teacher assessment identity.” Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, Vol. 25, No. 5, 2018, 442-467.

    Mackey, A., and Gass, S. M. Second language research: Methodology and design. 2nd ed.,

    Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2016.

    Malone, M. E. “The Essentials of Assessment Literacy: Contrasts between Testers

    and Users”. Language Testing, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2013, 329-344.

    McMillan, J. H. “Fundamental assessment principles for teachers and school administrators.” Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, Vol. 7, No. 8, 2000, 1-9.

    McTighe, J., and O’Connor, K. “Seven Practices for Effective Teaching.” Educational

    Leadership, Vol. 63, No. 3, 2005, 10-17.

    Mellati, M., and Khademi, M. “Exploring Teachers’ Assessment Literacy:

    Impact on Learners’ Writing Achievements and Implications for Teacher

    Development.” Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 43, No. 6, 2018, 1-


    Mertler, C. A. “Secondary Teachers’ Assessment Literacy: Does Classroom

    Experience Make a Difference?.” American Secondary Education, Vol. 33, No. 2,

    2005, 76-92.

    Mertler, C. A. “Teachers’ Assessment Knowledge and Their Perceptions of the Impact of

    Classroom Assessment Professional Development.” Improving Schools, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2009, 101-113.

    Mertler, Craig A., and Cynthia Campbell. “Measuring Teachers' Knowledge & Application of

    Classroom Assessment Concepts: Development of the Assessment Literacy Inventory.” Online Submission (2005).

    Mohammadi, A. A mixed-methods study on the teacher assessment literacy of ELT instructors

    versus content instructors Islamic Azad University. 2020. University of Qom, Iran, Unpublished dissertation.

    Nazari, Naghmeh, et al. “Evaluating Novice and Experienced EFL Teachers’ Perceived TPACK

    for Their Professional Development.” Cogent Education, Vol. 6, No. 1,

    2019, 1-26.

    Plake, B. S., and Impara, J. C. “Teacher Assessment Literacy: What Do Teachers Know about

    Assessment?.” Handbook of classroom assessment. Vol. 3, No. 1, 1996. 53-68.

    Pilcher, J. K. “The standards and integrating instructional and assessment practices.” ERIC,  Vol. 2, No. 1, 2001, 451-190.

    Popham, W. J. Classroom Assessment: What Teachers Need to Know. 7th ed.,

    Boston: Pearson Education, 2014.

    Ramnarain, U., and Hlatswayo, M. “Teacher beliefs and attitudes about inquiry-based learning in a rural school district in South Africa.” South African Journal of Education, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2018, 1-10.

    Razavipour, K, et al. “On the interaction of Test Washback and Teacher Assessment

    Literacy: The Case of Iranian EFL Secondary School Teachers.” English Language

    Teaching, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2011, 156-161.

    Remesal, A. “Educational Reform and Primary and Secondary Teachers' Conceptions

    of Assessment: The Spanish Instance, Building upon Black and Wiliam.” The

    Curriculum Journal, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2007, 27-38.

    Rodríguez, A. G., and McKay, S. “Professional Development for Experienced

    Teachers Working with Adult English Language Learners. CAELA Network

    Brief.” Center for Adult English Language Acquisition, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2010, 1-13.

    Sadeghi, K., and Khezrlou, S. “Burnout among English language teachers in Iran: Do socio-demographic characteristics matter?.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 98, No. 2, 2014, 1590-1598.

    Scarino, A. “Language Assessment Literacy as Self-awareness: Understanding the Role of

    Interpretation in Assessment and in Teacher Learning.” Australia Language Testing, Vol 30, No. 3, 2013, 309-327.

    Schaefer, W. D., and Lissits, R. W. “Measurement Training for School Personnel:

    Recommendations and Reality.” Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 38, No. 3, 1987, 57-63.

    Schunk, D. H. (2012). Social cognitive theory. In K. R. Harris, S. Graham, T. Urdan, C. B. McCormick, G. M. Sinatra, & J. Sweller (Eds.), APA handbooks in psychology®. APA educational psychology handbook, Vol. 1. Theories, constructs, and critical issues (p. 101–123). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/13273-005.

    Siegel, M. A., and Wissehr, C. “Preparing for the plunge: Pre-service teachers’ assessment literacy.” Journal of Science Teacher Education, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2011, 371-391.

    Spolsky, B. Measured Words. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

    Smith, L. F., and Galvin, R. “Toward assessment readiness: An embedded approach in primary initial teacher education.” Assessment Matters, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2014, 39-63.

    Stiggins, R. J. “Are You Assessment Literate?.” The High School Journal, Vol. 6,

    No. 5, 1999, 20-23.

    Stobart, G. Testing times: The uses and abuses of assessment. Oxon: Routledge,


    Sussman, R., and Gifford, R. “Causality in the theory of planned behavior.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 45, No. 6, 2019, 920-933.

    Tajeddin, Z., et al. “Classroom Assessment Literacy for Speaking: Exploring Novice

    and Experienced English Language Teachers' Knowledge and Practice.” Iranian

    Journal of Language Teaching Research, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2018, 57-77.

    Tao, N. Development and validation of classroom assessment literacy scales: English as a

    Foreign Language (EFL) teachers in a Cambodian Higher Education Setting. 2014.  Victoria University, Australia, Unpublished dissertation.

    Tavassoli, K., and Farhady, H. “Assessment Knowledge Needs of EFL

    Teachers.” Teaching English Language, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2018, 45-65.

    Taylor, L. “Communicating the theory, practice and principles of language testing to test stakeholders: Some reflections.” Language Testing, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2013, 403-412.

    Volante, L., and Fazio, X. “Exploring Teacher Candidates' Assessment Literacy: Implications for Teacher Education Reform and Professional Development.” Canadian Journal of Education, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2007,  749-770.

    Wang, J., et al. “Pre-service Teachers’ Initial Conceptions about Assessment of

    Science Learning: The Coherence with Their Views of Learning Science.”

    Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2010, 522-529.

    Watmani, R., Asadollahfam, H., and Behin, B. “Demystifying language assessment literacy among high school teachers of English as a foreign language in Iran: Implications for teacher education reforms.” International Journal of Language Testing, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2020, 129-144.

    Williams, M., and Burden, R. “Students' developing conceptions of themselves as language learners.” The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 83, No. 2, 1999, 193-201.

    Xu, Y., and Brown, G. “Teacher Assessment Literacy in Practice: A

    Reconceptualization.” Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol. 58, 2016, 149-162.

    Yzer, M. C. “Reasoned action theory. The SAGE handbook of persuasion.” Developments in Theory and Practice, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2013, 120-136.

    Yzer, M. “Theory of reasoned action and theory of planned behavior.” The international encyclopedia of media effects, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2017, 1-7.

    Zamani, R., and Ahangari, S. “Characteristics of an Effective English Language

    Teacher (EELT) as Perceived by Learners of English.” International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Research, Vol. 4, No. 14, 2016, 69-88.

    Zwozdiak-Myers, P. The teacher's reflective practice handbook: How to engage effectively in professional development and build a portfolio of practice. Routledge, 2012.