Volume 11, Issue 4 (2020)                   LRR 2020, 11(4): 605-637 | Back to browse issues page

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Derakhshan A, Shakki F, Sarani M A. The Effect of Dynamic and Non-Dynamic Assessment on the Comprehension of Iranian Intermediate EFL Learners’ Speech Acts of Apology and Request. LRR 2020; 11 (4) :605-637
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-40648-en.html
1- Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran , a.derakhshan@gu.ac.ir
2- PhD Candidate in Applied Linguistics, Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran
3- MA in TEFL, Department of English Language Teaching, Gorgan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Gorgan, Iran
Abstract:   (3701 Views)
Pragmatics, which is one of the most eminent concepts in the world of language learning and teaching, has established itself in various academic fields. The teachability of pragmatics has been investigated in a plethora of studies (Derakhshan & Shakki, 2020; Shakki et al., 2020), though scant attention has been given to assessing and testing pragmatic features. It has been a long time that practitioners and teachers use traditional assessment to assess students, but with the emergence of new approaches in teaching, there should be new ways to test and assess learners. The present study is theoretically underpinned by Vygotsky’s (1978) Socio-Cultural Theory (SCT), which postulates that a person’ cognition is mediated socially during the interaction, and it emphasizes a mediated relationship not a direct relationship which is the basis for Dynamic Assessment (DA). He believes that the development of a child consists of two levels, namely actual level and potential level of development. Activating the Zone of Proximal Developmnet (ZPD), which is the distance between the actual developmental level and the level of potential development, requires guidance and collaboration. Since assessing the speech acts of apology and request through DA has not been taken into account so far, the present study aimed to find out the effects of DA on the acquisition of Iranian intermediate EFL learners’ speech act of apology and request. To this end, 66 students, selected from Shokouh Language Institute in Kalaleh, Golestan Providence, Iran, participated in this study.
Research Question:
Does dynamic vs. non-dynamic assessments (NDA) have any effect on the acquisition of Iranian intermediate EFL learner’s speech act of apology and request?
Three groups of language learners whose language proficiency was determined by Oxford Quick Placement Test (OQPT), participated in the present study. The total number of the participants was 85 Iranian learners, from whom 66 were selected as intermediate level whose scores ranged from 24 to 30, according to OQPT. The gender of the students was both male and female, and learners aged from 15 to 19. Their native language was Persian, and they were studying English as a second language. After homogenizing learners, they were divided into three groups, one DA, one NDA, and one control group. Listening pragmatic comprehension test, devised and validated by Birjandi and Derakhshan (2014), was utilized as the pretest and posttest of the study. First, the participants were tested before the intervention; after teaching speech acts to learners (30 apology and request video vignettes that were taken from seasons and episodes of 13 Reasons Why and Suits), the learners were tested by the listening pragmatic comprehension test to compare the results. In this study, to have homogeneous learners for all three groups, the mean and standard deviation of the proficiency test were calculated. To answer the research question, the scores taken from pretest and posttest were submitted to the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS).
To find the effectiveness of the treatment, the means of control group, NDA group, and DA group were compared. In order to make sure whether or not the groups were statistically different, One-way ANOVA test and post hoc test of Tukey were run. Based on the mean scores for the pretest in one DA and two NDA groups, which are 58.88, 55.92, and 55.67, it is shown that little difference exists among the three groups. However, in order to make sure whether or not the groups are similar statistically, One-way ANOVA test was conducted. The Sig. value is .92 which demonstrates that since this is more than .05, it can be concluded that there is not a statistically significant difference between the mean scores of the three groups. On the other hand, the mean scores for the posttest in one DA, NDA, and control group, respectively, were 117.42, 72.83, and 61.58, showing that the groups are different. Furthermore, the Sig. value is 0.00, which is smaller than .05, so this means that the intervention which was implemented in the DA group was effective. Since the obtained value does not show where the significant difference exists, post hoc test of Tukey was used to find the statistical significance between the groups.  The values corresponding with the comparison between the DA group and NDA groups are smaller than .05.
 For this reason, it can be concluded that the difference between DA group and the other two groups is statistically significant. However, the comparison between the two NDA groups revealed that they are not significantly different from each other (p=.392>.05). The results of one-way ANOVA test indicated that there were statistically meaningful differences across groups, and the results of post hoc test of Tukey revealed that dynamic group outperformed both non-dynamic and control groups, but no meaningful difference was found between non-dynamic and control groups although non-dynamic had a better mean score compared to that of control group. Considering the findings of the present study, it is suggested that harmonizing the instruction and testing provides opportunities for the learners, and learning should be individualized in order to have better outcomes. To put it in a nutshell, giving students contextually appropriate input has been a pivotal factor to increase learners’ pragmatic ability while understanding and performing the speech acts. In light of the gained results, the present study offers some implications for teachers, learners, and materials developers. It is suggested that teachers apply DA in their language classrooms to maximize interaction, mediation, and negotiation.
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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: language teaching
Published: 2020/10/1

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