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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.

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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

dialectics of human consciousness
Dialectics of Human Consciousness
  • Dialectical logic: contradictory unity of opposites
  • Mind - body: NOT two different and originally contrary objects, but only one single object and this is the thinking bodyof living real human
    • Possible to consider this being from two different or even opposite points of view
    • Thinking body does not consist of two Cartesian halves.
    • Thought is a property, a mode of existence, of the body -- ie.its spatial configuration and position among other bodies
spinoza
Spinoza
  • There are not two different and originally contrary objects of investigation—body and thought—but only one single object, which is the thinking body of living, real man [sic]… only considered from two different and even opposing aspects or points of view.
tool culture mediation
Tool & Culture Mediation

Human

Entity

Vygotsky’s insight !

Person + tool

Person + artifacts

Material

World

Culture

mediated mind
Mediated Mind

What is first social becomes psychological

Concepts, Artifacts, Activities

Person

World

mediation is a functional system
Mediation is a Functional System

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.

person environment relationship
Person-Environment Relationship
  • Major impediment to the theoretical and practical study of development
    • environment not outside the child
    • understanding of environment that developed in biology as in evolution of animal species must not be transferred to child development.
  • Environment is not a factor in development -- it is the source of development [NB: as distinct from biological maturation]
vygotsky and the mind body
Vygotsky and the Mind - Body
  • Downward Reduction to brain -- vulgar materialism: innately specified knowledge
  • Upward Reduction to world -- behaviorism or social constructionism
  • Vygotsky’s solution -- find a third concept MEDIATION to (re)unify and synthesize mind-body
communication cognition
Communication & Cognition
  • Communicative Conception

Language & thought are independent

Language serves to transmit thought

  • Cognitive Conception

Humans think IN natural language – natural language sentences are vehicles of thought

**Supra-Communicative Conception

Public language (social communication) is available as a tool for mediating thinking

traditional assessment ta
Traditional Assessment (TA)
  • The examiner presents items, one at a time or all at once, and each examinee is asked to respond to these items successively, without feedback or intervention until the test is over, usually in the form of a score or set of scores.
dynamic assessment
Dynamic Assessment
  • Takes into account results of intervention. The examiner teaches the examinee how to perform better on individual items or on the test as a whole.
  • Final score may be a learning score representing the difference between pretest (before learning) and posttest (after learning) scores, or it may be the score on the posttest considered alone.

Sternberg, R. J. and E. L. Grigorenko. (2002). Dynamic Testing. The Nature and Measurement of Learning Potential. Cambridge: CUPress.

da the zpd
DA & the ZPD
  • “determining the actual level of development not only does not cover the whole picture of development, but very frequently encompasses only an insignificant [italics added] part of it”.

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.

importance of assistance
Importance of Assistance
  • responsiveness to assistance indispensable for understanding cognitive ability
    • provides insight into the person’s future development
      • what individual is able to do one day with assistance, s/he is able to do tomorrow alone
  • potential development varies independently of actual development
    • latter cannot be used to predict former
zpd pull to sit consensual frame
ZPD & Pull-to-Sit Consensual Frame

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

(Fogel 1993)

early formulation of da
Early Formulation of DA
  • Imagine that we have examined two children and have determined that the mental age of both is seven years. This means that both children solve tasks accessible to seven-year-olds. However, when we attempt to push these children further in carrying out the tests, there turns out to be an essential difference between them. With the help of leading questions, examples, and demonstrations, one of them easily solves test items taken from two years above the child’s level of [actual] development. The other solves test items that are only a half-year above, his or her level of [actual] development.
early da continued
Early DA (continued)
  • From the point of view of their independent activity they are equivalent, but from the point of view of their immediate potential development they are sharply different. That which the child turns out to be able to do with the help of an adult points us toward the zone of the child’s proximal development. This means that with the help of this method, we can take stock not only of today’s completed process of development, not only the cycles that are already concluded and done, not only the processes of maturation that are completed; we can also take stock of processes that are now in the state of coming into being, that are only ripening, or only developing.
da ta understanding the future
DA & TA: Understanding the Future
  • Vygotsky’s theorizing in the ZPD is predicated upon a radically different understanding of the future from that which informs SA
three models of the future valsiner 2001
Three Models of the Future(Valsiner 2001)
  • Atemporal: humans do not develop but mature
    • genetics (e.g. innatism)
    • environment (e.g., behaviorism)
  • Past-to-present: history of organism leads to present state
    • Development “sequence of stages” on way to final stage
    • stages cannot be skipped [Piaget, Krashen, Pienemann]
    • future predicted post factum – already has become present
  • Present-to-future (the future-in-the-making): emergence of novelty
    • chart development while it is emerging
    • Others participate actively in developmental process
    • Actual development brings past into contact with future
da the future in the making
DA:The Future in the Making

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

  • Ability not stable trait of individuals but malleable feature dependent on activities in which individuals participate
  • Test performance not complete without person’s response to assistance
  • Person’s potential to develop (i.e., his/her future) depends on ZPD.
types of da
Types of DA
  • Interventionist
    • Sandwich – pretest-mediation-posttest
      • Individual
      • Group
    • Layer Cake – intervention during assessment
      • Hints provided from a pre-established menu
        • Individual
        • Group
  • Interactionist – mediation is emergent in interaction between examiner & examinee
interventionist da layer cake
Interventionist DA:Layer Cake
  • Lerntest or Leipzig Learning Test (LLT)
    • Jurgen Guthke & colleagues
  • Graduated Prompts
    • Ann Brown & colleagues
graduated hints in llt
Graduated Hints in LLT

“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.”

interactionist da
Interactionist DA
  • Follows Vygotsky’s preference for “qualitative assessment of psychological processes and dynamics of their development” (Minick 1987: 119)

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.

vygotsky on subjectivity in science
Vygotsky on Subjectivity in Science
  • Task of Research Methodology: not just to measure, but to see, think & associate.
    • Fear of interpenetration of subjective factors in assessment & research unfounded
    • Research results cannot be fully achieved through purely mechanical & arithemetic methods
  • Without subjective reevaluation (without thought & interpretation) deciphering results & evaluation of data is notscientific research
reuven feuerstein
Reuven Feuerstein
  • Traditional examiner/examinee roles abandoned > Teacher-student relationship
  • Both work toward ultimate success of student.
  • “It is through this shift in roles that we find both the examiner and the examinee bowed over the same task, engaged in a common quest for mastery of the material”
interactionist l2 da anton 2003
Interactionist L2 DAAnton 2003
  • DA used for placement purposes in university level advanced Spanish program
  • Integrated into OPI-like procedure
  • Students asked to renarrate a film story of a family traveling through Spain
example 1 anton 2003
Example 1 (Anton 2003)
  • (E)xaminer: You started the story in the past and then, half way you switched
  • (S)tudent: Yes, yes
  • E: To the present.
  • S: Yes, yes. I heard
  • E: Do you want to try again using the past ? And you can ask me. If there is a verb you do not remember it’s OK.
  • S: Yes, yes, from the beginning ?
  • E: Perhaps from the middle ?
  • S: In the past, yes, yes.
  • E: Did you realize that you made the switch ?
  • S: Yes, yes, I heard.
example 2 continued
Example 2 (continued)
  • They then returned to the narrative. The student began continued to have problems with the past tense:
  • S: *Juegué al tenis [I played tennis]
  • [the correct form for the third person is jugó]
  • E: Jugué o jugó [I played or she played ?]
  • S: Jugó [She played]
example 2 continued1
Example 2 (continued)

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]

interactionist da in l2 classroom part i
Interactionist DA in L2 ClassroomPart I
  • Interactionist DA in L2 ClassroomPart I
  • S: elle est enceinte elle est oh d’accord, Julianne Moore elle est enceinte de la bébé (laughs) de la bébé de Hugh Grant mais Hugh Grant ne croit pas pour—
  • M: but in the past
  • S: n’a croit pas*, n’a croyé pas*
  • M: yeah um (...)
  • S: uh j’oublie
  • M: right because it was more a description [of him right?
  • S: oui] alors il est imparfait
  • M: voilà voilà so you would say?
  • S: je sais je sais mais je n’ai pas le used imparfait pour beaucoup de fois alors (...)
  • M: il ne croyait pas
  • S: il ne croyait pas et uh um il fait l’accident de son voiture
da in the l2 classroom part ii
DA in the L2 ClassroomPart II
  • A: les gens qui voudraient les enfants (...) ils ont besoin d’être préparé? pour leur responsabilité d’avoir les enfants et, on a l’idée que il n’a voulu pas* uh n’a pas voulu la responsabilité pour les enfants maintenant mais pendant il
  • M: yeah uh right he so remember you’ve got the two past tenses right? Okay
  • A: pendant il a parlé* Rebecca a dit qu’elle qu’elle a enceinté* et uh
continued
(Continued)
  • M: I’m just going to kind of interrupt you there for a minute and ask you to go back and renarrate it again and this time keeping in mind for example the difference between the two major past tenses in French the passé composé and the imparfait
  • A: Rebecca et Samuel conduisaient à la maison de leur ami Sean et pendant le voyage Samuel a dit que les gens qui qui avaient les enfants doit être prepare préparé pour leur responsabilité
learner reciprocity co regulation
Learner Reciprocity: Co-Regulation
  • Co-regulation: “a social process by which individuals dynamically alter their actions with respect to the ongoing and anticipated actions [physical or communicative] of their partners.” Fogel (1993, p. 34)
  • Each participant’s behavior is emergent from their expectations, the actions of the partner, the context (as co-weaving) and the constraints of their bodies and communicative abilities. The consequence of co-regulation is “a consensual social pattern that is created and elaborated over time” (ibid.).
  • In co-regulation nothing is exchanged or negotiated; instead information is created (Fogel, 1993, p. 55) by the communicative flow arising from the generation of verbal and non-verbal linguistic signs.
learner reciprocity poehner
Learner Reciprocity: Poehner
  • Negotiation of Mediation: learner realizes that mediation offered is not adequate & must be supplemented
  • Mediator as Resource: request for specific type of support enables M to better attune mediation to learner needs. L realizes they do not have access to needed resources.
  • Create Opportunities to Develop: M may offer a particular type of support but it may trigger an unanticipated response from L
  • Seek Mediation Approval: L has resources but is not completely sure of performance. Is able to plan and execute but needs confirmation from other that performance is appropriate
  • Non-acceptance of Mediation: L attempts to show autonomy, even when not fully able to perform without support. Self-generate effort to push their ability forward.
example of reciprocity
Example of Reciprocity

Seek Approval

  • 1. J: Est-ce que ça marche? does that work?
  • 2. M: uh elle lui a demandé? she asked him?
  • 3. J: elle lui a demandé s’il peut wait s’il pourrait pouvait être plus positifshe asked him if he can wait if he would be able could be more positive
  • 4. pouvait être? Uh (...) could be? Uh
  • 5. M: okay?
  • 6. J: okay, um en réponse il…in response he
emotional vs developmental support torrence pryor 1998
Emotional vs. Developmental Support(Torrence & Pryor 1998)
  • Teacher relies on intuition—
    • “commitment to child-centered ‘gentleness’” and extrinsic rewards
    • manage interaction rather than intervening in the developmental process (p. 91).
  • Unlikely to impact on learning, “intended or not” (ibid.).
  • Teacher isn’t likely to appreciate or even see what is happening because he does not have “an understanding of the relationship of assessment to learning” (ibid.).
incidental fa in a da format gibbons 2003
Incidental FA in a DA FormatGibbons (2003)

Content-Based ESL class –focus on scientific language

  • Whole class interaction following small group work.
  • Teacher: Tell us what happened
  • Beatrice: Em we put three magnets together / it still wouldn’t hold the gold nail.
  • Teacher: Can you explain that again ?
  • Beatrice: We / we tried to put three magnets together .. to hold the gold nail .. even though we had three magnets .. It wouldn’t stick.
gibbons 2003
Gibbons (2003)
  • Teacher:Tell us what you found out
  • Michelle: We found out that the south and the south don’t like to stick together
  • Teacher: Now let’s / let’s start using our scientific language Michelle
  • Michelle: The north and the south repelled each other and the south and the south also .. repelledeach other but when we put the when we put the two magnets in a different way they / they attractedeach other
da and psychometrics
DA and Psychometrics
  • Generalizability & Reliability

Future Performance – Pedagogy

    • From Sample to Group – Research
      • Assertive Logic (Polkinghorne 1996) – Link to theory
  • Validity
    • Systemic
      • if test “brings about or induces, an improvement in the tested skills after a test has been in the educational system for a period of time.” (Shohamy 2001: 142)
    • Predictive
    • Consequential
measurement
Measurement
  • Snow (1990, p. 1135) objects to DA on the premise that without linking assessment in some way to measurement, “fundamental in all science,” the term is “meaningless”.
  • Bachman (1990, p. 18.) defines measurement as “the process of quantifying the characteristics [physical as well as mental] of persons according to explicit procedures and rules.”
  • Büchel and Scharnhorst (1993, p. 101.) suggest that DA

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.

psychometrics validity reliability
Psychometrics: Validity & Reliability
  • Built on a foundation that privileges the autonomous individual as the site from which performance and development emerge.
  • DA, on the other hand, is built on a foundation which privileges the social individual, or as Wertsch (1998) puts it “person-acting-with-mediational-means.”
vygotsky on measurement
Vygotsky on Measurement
  • Vygotsky: measuring a child’s performance provides little more than “a purely empirical establishment of what is obvious to persons who just observe the child” and adds nothing new to what is already known through direct observation (Vygotsky, 1998, p. 205).
  • The task of the psychologist is not to measure but to interpret the individual (Vygotsky, 1998, p. 204).
vygotsky on subjectivity in science vol 2 collected works
Vygotsky on Subjectivity in Science (vol. 2, collected works)
  • Task of Research Methodology: not just to measure, but to see, think & associate.
    • Fear of interpenetration of subjective factors in assessment & research unfounded
    • Research results cannot be fully achieved through purely mechanical & arithmetic methods
  • Without subjective reevaluation (without thought & interpretation) deciphering results & evaluation of data is notscientific research
da reliability
DA & Reliability
  • From the ontology of the social individual and the clinical perspective on assessment, the examiner’s participation in the process is essential and therefore cast in a positive light.
  • As Lidz (1991, p. 18): “the word ‘dynamic’ implies change and not stability. Items on traditional measures are deliberately selected to maximize stability, not necessarily to provide an accurate reflection of stability or change in the ‘real’ world.”
  • Because DA integrates teaching and assessment change is necessarily an artifact of the test.
predictive validity
Predictive Validity
  • the ZPD, which is the foundation of DA, is itself an empirically grounded prediction of learner development—what is at one time carried out interpersonally will eventually be carried out intrapersonally.
  • Specifically, this means that during the course of an assessment or from one assessment to another, mediation is expected to become less frequent and less explicit as learners display greater control or self-regulation over the construct under consideration
  • Transcendence: learners are further expected to extend their abilities to increasingly complex activities once they have internalized the mediation (see the discussion of Poehner’s research above).
da consequential validity
DA & Consequential Validity
  • From the perspective of the social individual, there are serious

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?

dynamic assessment equal access to everyone
Dynamic Assessment: Equal Access to Everyone
  • A. N. Leont’ev: “American researchers are constantly seeking to discover how the child came to be what he is; we in the USSR are striving to discover not how the child came to be what he is, but how he can become what he not yet is.” Bronnfenbrenner (1977: 528)
  • Ratner (2006): The object should be not to beat the odds but to change the odds.
references
References

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