Dynamic Assessment in L2 Development: Bringing the Past into the Future James P. Lantolf, Greer Professor in Language Acquisition & Applied Linguistics The Pennsylvania State University.
Dynamic Assessment in L2 Development: Bringing the Past into the FutureJames P. Lantolf, Greer Professor in Language Acquisition& Applied Linguistics The Pennsylvania State University
Research funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of Education Grant (CFDA 84.229, P229A020010-03). However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and one should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. It was also partly funded by a Gil Watz Fellowship from the Center for Language Acquisition at The Pennsylvania State University. Co-author on larger project: MATT POEHNER
Vygotsky’s insight !
Person + tool
Person + artifacts
What is first social becomes psychological
Concepts, Artifacts, Activities
Mediational Means do not operate independently of each other but as organic functional systems.
Formal Education—a leading activity of many cultures integrates symbolic and physical artifacts (books, paper, pencil, numbers, charts, language) aimed at development of conceptual understanding of the world.
Language & thought are independent
Language serves to transmit thought
Humans think IN natural language – natural language sentences are vehicles of thought
Public language (social communication) is available as a tool for mediating thinking
Sternberg, R. J. and E. L. Grigorenko. (2002). Dynamic Testing. The Nature and Measurement of Learning Potential. Cambridge: CUPress.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1998). The Problem of Age. In The Collected Works of L. S. Vygotsky. Vol. 5. Child Psychology. R. W. Rieber (Ed.). New York: Plenum.
Mother pulls infant with sufficient force that child cannot resist or provide compensatory effort
No sense of self--absorbed in background
Can’t detect relationship between self & action
Mother & infant jointing exert dynamic forces to create action
Two-person action system that is co- regulated
TA follows performance to the point of ‘failure’ in independent functioning, whereas DA leads to the point of achievement of success in joint or shared activity
“That’s not correct. Please, think about it once again.”
“That’s not correct. Think about which rows are most relevant to the one you are trying to complete.”
“That’s not correct. Let’s look at rows three and four.”
“That’s not correct. Let’s look at rows three and four and focus on the differences in both the positions of the objects and the words.”
“That’s not correct. The correct pattern is gadu ski la because we see that gadu represents the triangle, ski represents the square, and la, which indicates the objects’ relative horizontal positioning, should be the final element in the clause, as can be seen in rows three and four.”
Vygotsky (1998: 204) insisted that “we must not measure the child, we must interpret the child” and this can only be achieved through interaction and cooperation with the child.
A bit latter a similar problem arose when the student was attempting to narrate the fact that one of the characters returned home to eat lunch.
E: …. Very good. And here you said, what did she do ?
S: Comí [I ate]
E: Comí o comió?[I ate or she ate] ?
S: Comió [She ate]
E: Comió [She ate]
Content-Based ESL class –focus on scientific language
Future Performance – Pedagogy
researchers can link assessment and measurement through “standardization of the examiner–subject interaction,” a characteristic of interventionist approaches to DA, but not of interactionist approaches.
ethical problems using the outcomes of assessments based exclusively on solo performance to make decisions that impact the lives of individuals and the institutions in which they function:
how appropriate is it to place students into the same language course on the basis of their solo performance knowing that their relative mediated performance could vary significantly and that therefore the individuals in question would benefit from different forms of instruction?
how ethical is it to knowingly miss an opportunity to help someone develop during an assessment for the sake of maintaining psychometric principles?
Lantolf & Poehner. 2007. DA Dynamic Assessment: A Teacher’s Guide. CALPER Publication. Available on DVD through CALPER.
Lantolf & Poehner. 2004. Dynamic assessment of L2 development: bringing the
past into the future. Journal of Applied Linguistics 1: 49-74.
Lantolf, J. P. & M. Poehner (to appear). Dynamic assessment. In N. Hornberger (Ed.) TheEncyclopedia of Language and Education, vol. 7: Language Testing and Assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Poehner, M. (2005). Dynamic assessment in the foreign language classroom. Ph.D. dissertation. Penn State University. University Park, PA.
Poehner. M. (forthcoming a). Both Sides of the Conversation: The Interplay between Mediation and Learner Reciprocity in Dynamic Assessment. In Lantolf, J. P. & M. E. Poehner (Eds.). Sociocultural theory and the teaching of second languages. London: Equinox.
Poehner, M. (forthcoming b). Dynamic assessment in L2 Learning. Berlin: Springer Verlag.
Poehner & Lantolf. 2005. Dynamic Assessment in the language classroom. Language Teaching Research. 9: 233-265.
Pod-Cast on Dynamic Assessment available on CALPER website: calper.la.psu.edu