All roads lead to Rome? Language assessment literacy development of university English teachers in China

Ling Gan*, Ricky Lam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


While much research has probed teachers’ language assessment literacy (LAL) development in a top-down way (e.g., assessment training programmes), few studies have investigated how individual teachers play their roles in LAL development over time in their own teaching contexts. The current study fills this gap by employing an ethnographic case approach to capture the lived experiences of how four Chinese university English teachers developed LAL over three semesters. The study looked into developmental trajectories of university English teachers’ LAL and professional development opportunities that mediate their LAL development. It was found that university English teachers developed their LAL in a bottom-up way, following idiosyncratic trajectories. Specifically, they all acquired initial LAL from past assessment experiences and their initial LAL was enhanced over time with two key emerging patterns: a growing awareness of using assessment for learning and an increasing orientation towards engaging students in language assessment to support their learning . Besides, teachers’ LAL development evolved at different rates and with varying extents. Different LAL development trajectories could be ascribed to the agency teachers unevenly exercised and the opportunities inequitably allocated at department or university levels (e.g., institutional guidance, provisions of assessment training/learning). Informed by the findings, we propose a context-specific LAL development trajectory for university English teachers. The study is expected to offer implications for university English teachers, institutional administrators and assessment trainer/training providers in China and other similar educational contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2023
EventThe 44th Language Testing Research Colloquium: Language Assessment for a Global, Digital, and More Equitable Era - New York City , New York , United States
Duration: 5 Jun 20239 Jun 2023


SymposiumThe 44th Language Testing Research Colloquium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York
Internet address

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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