Dynamic Assessment Training and Mediational Strategies of EFL Student Mediators

Document Type : Original Article


1 Razi University, Kermanshah

2 Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran



Grounded in Vygotsky's sociocultural theory of mind, dynamic assessment (DA) procedures integrate assessment and instruction into one unified activity. Mediation as the core concept of DA is defined as the assistance and the feedback offered by the mediator to the learners while engaging in the process of assessment. This study aimed at addressing the effect of DA training on the meditational moves of student mediators regarding a writing accuracy task in small groups in an EFL classroom. A multiple case study design was used in this study. Five students underwent DA training during which they were exposed to a large classroom DA by a teacher mediator followed by basic theoretical underpinnings of DA as well as mock DA practice and discussion. Data were collected though video records of DA training workshops and Group Dynamic Assessment sessions. Additionally, stimulated recall was used to help student mediators reflect on the interactions. Language-related episodes were used for data analysis. The findings showed that DA training resulted in qualitative and quantitative changes in the meditational moves of student mediators, which calls for incorporating of small group DA as an essential complementary to large classroom DA and learner-centered approaches to teaching and assessment in the EFL classrooms.


Ableeva, R. (2010). Dynamic assessment of listening comprehension in second language learning: Unpublished PhD dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University.
Ableeva R. (2008). The effects of dynamic assessment on L2 listening comprehension. In J.P. Lantolf and M. Poehner (Eds.), Socio-cultural theory and the teaching of second languages (pp. 57-86). Equinox Press.
Alavi, S. M., Kaivanpanah, S., & Shabani, K. (2011). Group dynamic assessment: An inventory of mediational strategies for teaching listening. Journal of Teaching    Language Skills, 3(4), 27-58.
Aljaafreh, A., & Lantolf, J. P. (1994). Negative feedback as regulation and second language learning in the zone of proximal development. The Modern Language Journal, 78(4), 465-483.
Alnasser, S. (2018). Employment of the “Peer Feedback Technique in L2 Writing Classroom: An Introductory Guide for Novice Instructors. Universal Journal of Educational Research 6(8), 1652-1658.
Antón, M. (2009). Dynamic assessment of advanced second language learners. Foreign Language Annals, 42 (3), 576-598.
Antón, M. (2003). Dynamic assessment of advanced foreign language learners. Paper presented    at the American Association of Applied Linguistics. Washington, D.C., March, 2003.
Birjandi, P., & Ebadi, S. (2009). Dynamic assessment in synchronous computer mediated communication. Teaching English Language, 3(1), 93-122.
Boyatzis, R. E. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. Sage
Cho, K., & Schunn, C. D. (2007). Scaffolded writing and rewriting in the             discipline. Computers and Education, 48, 409- 426.
Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five      approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 
Creswell, J. W., Plano Clark, V. L., Gutmann, M. L., & Hanson, W. E. (2003). Advanced mixed     methods research designs. Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral          research, 209, 240.
Curtain, H., & Dahlberg, C.A. (2010). Languages and children, making the match (4th ed.). New   York: Longman.
Davin, K. J. (2016). Classroom dynamic assessment: a critical examination of constructs and practices. The Modern Language Journal, 100(4), 813-829.
Davin, K. J. (2013). Integration of dynamic assessment and instructional conversations to promote development and improve assessment in the language classroom. Language Teaching Research, 17(3), 303-322.
Davin, K. J. (2011). Group dynamic assessment in an early foreign language learning program:    Tracking movement through the zone of proximal development (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Donato, R. (1994). Collective Scaffolding in second language learning. In J. P. Lantolf & G. Appel eds. Vygotskian approaches to second language research. Norwood: Ablex.
Dörnyei, Z. (2007). Research methods in applied linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ebadi, S. (2016). Mediation and reciprocity in online L2 dynamic assessment. CALL-EJ, 17(2), 18-42.
Ebadi, S., & Saeedian, A. (2019). Exploring L2 learning potential through computerized dynamic assessment. Teaching English Language, 13(2), 51-78.
Eckerth, J. (2008). Investigating consciousness‐raising tasks: pedagogically targeted and non‐targeted learning gains. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 18(2), 119-145.
Farhadi, S., Aidinloo, N. A., & Talebi, Z. (2016). The writing performance of Iranian EFL               learners in the light of metadiscourse awareness.Journal of Language Teaching and             Research, 7(5), 923-928.
Gibbons, P. (2003). Mediating language learning: Teacher interactions with ESL students in a content-based classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 37, 247-273.
Gielen, S., Tops, L., Dochy, F., Onghena, P., & Smeets, S. (2010). A comparative study of              peer and teacher feedback and of various peer feedback forms in a secondary school               writing curriculum. British Educational Research Journal, 36, 143-162.
Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). A meta-analysis of writing instruction for adolescent        students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 445- 476.
Guk, I., & D. Kellogg. (2007). The ZPD and whole class teaching: Teacher-led and student-led       interactional mediation of tasks. Language Teaching Research, 11 (3), 281-299.
Heidarian, N. (2016). Investigating the Effect of Using Self-Assessment on Iranian EFL   Learners' Writing. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(28), 80-89.
Kozulin, A. & E. Garb. (2002). Dynamic assessment of EFL text comprehension of at-risk students. School Psychology International, 23, 112-127.
Lantolf, J. P., & Poehner, M. E. (2011). Dynamic assessment in the classroom: Vygotskian     praxis for second language development. Language Teaching Research, 15(1), 11-33.‏
Lantolf J. P., & Poehner M. E. (Eds.) (2008). Sociocultural theory and the teaching of second languages, London, Equinox.
Lantolf, J. P., & Poehner, M. E. (2004). Dynamic assessment of L2 development: Bringing the               past into the future. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 49-72.
Leontiev, А. А. (2001). Kluchevye idei L.S. Vygotskogo – vklad v mirovuyu psykhologiu XX    stoletia [Crucial ideas of L.S. Vygotsky as an important contribution to psychology of the               20th century]. In L.S. Vygotsky, Psikhologia razvitia cheloveka [Psychology of human development] (pp.4-10). Moskva: Smysl.
Naeini, J. (2013). Graduated prompts and mediated learning experience: A comparative study of the effects of two approaches of dynamic assessment on the reading comprehension of Iranian EFL learners (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Islamic Azad University.          Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran.‏
Naghdipour, B. (2016). English writing instruction in Iran: Implications for second language   writing curriculum and pedagogy. Journal of Second Language Writing, 32, 81-87.
Ohta, A. S. (2005). Confirmation checks: A discourse analytic reanalysis. Japanese Language &            Literature, 39, 383-412.
Oliver, R. (2002). The patterns of negotiation for meaning in child interactions. The Modern   Language Journal, 86(1), 97-111.‏
Poehner, M. E. (2009) Group Dynamic Assessment: Mediation for the L2 Classroom. TESOL Quarterly, 43(3), 471-491.
Poehner, M. E. (2005). Dynamic assessment of oral proficiency among advanced L2 learners of French. Unpublished dissertation. Pennsylvania State University, University Park.
Poehner, M. E., & Lantolf, J. P. (2005). Dynamic assessment in the language classroom.          Language Teaching Research, 9(3), 233-265.
Rahimi, M., Kushki, A., & Nassaji, H. (2015). Diagnostic and developmental potentials of      dynamic assessment for L2 writing. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 2(2), 185-208.
Rutherford, W. E. (1987). Second Language Grammar: Learning and Teaching. New York:     Longman.
Saadat, M., Mehrpour, S., & Khajavi, Y. (2017). The Role of Individual Difference Factors in Writing Feedback Use and Involvement: A Qualitative Study of Iranian EFL Learners' Perceptions. Khazar Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 20(4).
Shabani, K. (2012). Dynamic assessment of L2 learners' reading comprehension processes: A Vygotskian perspective. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 32, 321-328.‏
Shabani K. (2014). Dynamic assessment of L2 listening comprehension in transcendence tasks. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 98, 1729–1737.
Shabani, K. (2018). Group dynamic assessment of l2 learners' writing abilities. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 6(1), 129-149.
Sternberg, R.J. and E.L. Grigorenko (2002). Dynamic testing. The nature and measurement of learning potential. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Summers, R. (2008). Dynamic assessment: Towards a model of dialogic engagement.       Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of South Florida.
Swain, M., & Lapkin, S. (1998). Interaction and second language learning: Two adolescent             French immersion students working together. The Modern Language Journal, 82(3), 320-           337.
Tzuriel, D. (2001). Dynamic assessment of young children. In dynamic assessment of young            children (pp. 63-75). Springer, Boston, MA.
van Compernolle, R. A., & Williams, L. (2013). Group dynamics in the language classroom: Embodied participation as active reception in the collective Zone of Proximal Development. Classroom Discourse, 4(1), 42-62.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MAL: Harvard University Press.
Wertsch, J. V. & Hikmann, M. (1987). Problem-solving in social interaction: A microgenetic analysis. In M. Hickmann (Ed.) Social and functional approaches to language and           thought. Orlando: Academic Press, 251-266.
Xiaoxiao, L., & Yan, L. (2010). A case study of dynamic assessment in EFL process writing. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 33(1), 24-40.