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Title: Improving ESL formative assessment practices and student learning via multi-staged peer assessment of oral presentations
Author: Ho, Lok Ming Eric
ISNI:       0000 0004 7432 7452
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2018
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In an examination dominated educational culture such as that in Hong Kong, university students’ experiences with multiple forms of assessment is somewhat limited. It is understandable, therefore, why not only students, but teachers as well, remain skeptical when confronted with new approaches to assessment. This study set out to challenge the ‘conservative’ nature of assessment that characterises Hong Kong and to engage students with assessment practices that involved them in not only being assessed, but in taking on the role of the assessor as well. The research study portrays how a sample of Hong Kong university students undertaking an English as a Second Language (ESL) course used oral presentations as a vehicle for peer assessment. This is an under-explored area for Hong Kong tertiary students’, but this study showed that students can learn and then improve their oral presentations at different stages of peer assessment by providing feedback, receiving feedback and revising oral presentations. Such findings challenge the stereotypical views of Hong Kong’s learning culture and contributes to a new dimension on peer assessment, especially in the context of the ESL classroom by focusing on the learning processes rather than the outcomes. Twenty-eight Engineering and Physiotherapy first-year undergraduate students participated in this research study. They were chosen as verbal communication is the main communication mode in their workplaces. At the beginning of the semester, being new to peer assessment, they attended training sessions, in which they were given opportunities to discuss assessment rubrics and evaluate two speakers’ performances before the actual peer assessment. A mixed methods approach was adopted. The instruments’ utilised were peer written feedback, semi-structured interviews and students’ reflections. The findings indicated that students, through different means, were able to evaluate, revise and reflect on their own learning processes during the three stages of peer assessment. Instead of the traditional top-down information transmission, they also found that different tasks, including conversations with the peer assessors, in peer assessment were helpful to improve their oral presentations throughout the semester. This research study has shown that when presented with new learning opportunities, Hong Kong students can not only engage with them, but become active learners who can improve their understanding, skills and values. This suggests that peer assessment as part of oral presentations is a promising alternative to more traditional modes of assessment. At the practical level, this research also provides ESL teachers with some useful pedagogies and techniques that can both positively engage students, and ultimately improve their learning.
Supervisor: Yu, Guoxing Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available