A Tale of Two Teachers: Construction of Novice University English Teachers’ Assessment Identity

Ling Gan, Ricky Lam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


While teachers’ language assessment literacy (LAL) development has been researched exponentially, little is known about the construction of teachers’ assessment identity in their LAL development. The current study attempts to fill this gap by exploring how two novice university English teachers constructed their assessment identity in the Chinese context. Data were collected over three semesters through narrative frames, interviews, and field observations. The data revealed that the two teachers experienced a shift from not identifying themselves to be an assessor to being an assessor, along with their LAL development. They constructed their assessment identity with different trajectories. Specifically, one informant proactively made sense of her identities as an unswerving assessment practitioner and an ardent assessment explorer but preferred to label herself as a guide and “a stumbling novice assessor.” The other developed his identities as a confident feedback giver and a lenient marker, preferably identifying himself as “a life mentor.” These idiosyncratic construction trajectories were mainly influenced by teachers’ conceptions of assessment, prior assessment experiences, personal dispositions (e.g., self-efficacy, agency, reflection) and institutional requirements. Findings of this study offer insights into the under-researched area of teacher professional identity in language assessment and provide implications on how to become effective language assessors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-236
Number of pages18
JournalChinese Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • novice university English teachers
  • assessment identity
  • language assessment literacy
  • professional identity construction


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