Alternative assessment or traditional testing: How do Iranian EFL teachers respond?

Document Type : Original Article


University of Tehran



Introducing alternative modes of assessment is but one response to the recent call for democratic and ethical language assessment. Yet, despite the recent emphasis in the discourse community and the rise in publication on alternative assessment, these new forms of assessment still need to be explored further. This study is a two-fold attempt: first, to investigate teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about different aspects of traditional testing and alternative assessment, and second to delve into their ethical orientation and to examine views on language testing apropos of their general ethical viewpoints. A questionnaire was developed and used to collect Iranian EFL teachers’ views on language testing and ethics in general (N = 153). The results indicated that despite its agreed-upon disadvantages, an obstinate stigmatization and refusal of traditional testing may still seem a practice at odds with the common sense. In fact, until a better proposal can be offered, alternative assessment and traditional testing can best be regarded as supplements rather than substitutes.