Call for Papers - Feedback & Assessment in L2 Education during the COVID-19 and Beyond

I. Title

Feedback & Assessment in L2 Education during the COVID-19 and Beyond

II. Guest editors

  1. Shulin Yu, University of Macau, Macau SAR, China
  2. Hao Xu, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China

III. Aim of the special issue

Being inevitably required in education, assessment helps students develop language competence and teachers improve instruction in second language education. As a crucial component of assessment, feedback is not only an essential pedagogical approach which serves as a follow-up to assessment, but also one of the most influential factors in affecting students’ achievement (Hattie & Timperley, 2007). Fundamentally, the field of assessment and feedback is issue-driven, and the central issue that concerns educators and researchers is how assessment should be conducted and how feedback should be provided to facilitate students’ language learning.

The central issue, however, has it today that the COVID-19 pandemic has witnessed second language education moving online on an unprecedented scale around the world. As a result, many schools are replacing traditional examinations with online assessment and feedback, and both teachers and learners need to readapt themselves to new means, formats, and even contents of feedback and assessment. This shift is not merely some additional use of an online technology that makes distant learning possible. It is more a matter of feedback and assessment reformulated in both form and content. Therefore, more research is needed on the imminent prospect of long-term change in and transformation of how feedback and assessment are received, and perceived.

To respond to such a sudden change, scholars and teachers first need to more closely examine how feedback and assessment have been conducted in the virtual space. For instance, what are the impacts of such change upon the validity and efficacy of assessment and feedback in second language education? In what ways can online feedback and assessment be customized for individual differences in learning needs? Is what they assessed still assessable online? Is there anything that becomes newly assessable when assessment is now made online? Are there any changes in teacher assessment and feedback practices? Are students giving each other feedback as well and much as they did in a normal classroom where peer feedback was encouraged and guided? These are just some research questions that we hope to seek answers to through timely, rigorous research endeavours.

Besides those factual issues that merit investigation, the entire system of second language education may also be modified and reformulated, given the huge impact of feedback and assessment on second language learning processes and outcomes (Xu & Liu, 2009). Stake-holders including test-designers, test-takers, and teachers may all need to reconceptualise and validate the practices for online or blended testing/assessment; they need to reconsider the backwash effects of such practices; they need to reexamine the optimal ways of providing, receiving, and negotiating feedback based on such testing/assessment practices. More profoundly, these altered or alternative practices of feedback and assessment would foreseeably lead to changes in the Complex Systems of second language education (Zheng, 2015), including not only the local system of feedback and assessment, but also other systems in relation to learner psychology (Freiermuth & Zarrinabadi, 2020; Yu, Jiang & Zhou, 2020) and teacher education (Xu, 2017). Learners may need to adopt new identities as online feedback and assessment becomes commonplace; they may need to employ new cognitive, metacognitive, and social strategies as they process online feedback and undergo online assessment. Teachers, likewise, may need to acquire new techniques of online feedback and assessment and hence assume new roles as facilitators of their students’ learning; they may need to reeducate themselves for a kind of new assessment/feedback literacy that is urgently needed in the current situation.

For this special issue, we are seeking papers that explore second language teachers’ and learners’ beliefs, practices, and experiences with regard to various types of assessment and feedback during the COVID-19. The papers can cover a variety of methodologies, including quantitative and qualitative approaches, mixed-methods, and action research. The special issue will also consider conceptual and review papers.

Main themes and topics for this special issue

Topics of interest for this special issue include but are not confined to:

  • How online feedback and/or assessment is provided to and received by second language learners
  • Teachers’ assessment and/or feedback beliefs and practices 
  • Teacher online assessment and/or feedback literacy 
  • Learners’ online feedback and/or assessment beliefs, practices and experiences 
  • Quality and efficacy of online feedback and/or assessment during the COVID-19
  • The design and development of online assessment tools and feedback rubrics 
  • Technology use by teachers and/or learners in adapting to online feedback and/or assessment
  • Learner psychology as impacted by online feedback and/or assessment
  • Sociocultural dynamics emerging from online feedback and/or assessment
  • Current and long-lasting impacts of online feedback and assessment on teacher education, language education policy, and other issues related to second language education

IV. Submission information

Submissions will need to follow the submission guidelines found at The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher (TAPER) website. Previously published manuscripts will not be considered for this special issue. Your manuscript will go here.

V. Important dates

  • Full paper submission deadline: 15 December 2020
  • Review decision: 28 February 2021
  • Final version submission: 10 May 2021 
  • Publication date: June 2021

VI. Questions

If you have questions, please contact the guest editors of this special issue at Dr. Shulin Yu (shulinyu@um.edu.mo) or Dr. Hao Xu (xuhaokent@bfsu.edu.cn).

VII. References

Freiermuth, M. R., & Zarrinabadi, N. (Eds.). (2020). Technology and the psychology of second
           language learners and users. Cham: Palgrave.

Hattie, J., & Timperley, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research
           77(1), 81–112.

Xu, H. (2017). Exploring novice EFL teachers’ classroom assessment literacy development: A
           three-year longitudinal study. The Asia Pacific Education Researcher, 26(3), 219-226.

Xu, Y., & Liu, Y. (2009). Teacher assessment knowledge and practice: A narrative inquiry of a Chinese
           college EFL teacher’s experience. TESOL Quarterly, 43(3), 493-513.

Yu, S., Jiang, L., & Zhou, N. (2020). Investigating what feedback practices contribute to students’
           writing motivation and engagement in Chinese EFL context: A large scale study. Assessing
           Writing. Advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asw.2020.100451. 

Zheng, H. (2015). Teacher beliefs as a complex system: English language teachers in China. Cham:
           Springer.